Middle East This Week: November 24, 2020

November 24, 2020

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in the greater Middle East and North Africa, usually posted on Tuesdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here

El-Muizz Street, one of the oldest streets in Cairo. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Omar Attallah (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Egypt Parliamentary Elections: October-November 2020

Egypt held elections for both houses of parliament this year. They were widely considered a sham by the opposition, civil society, and the public. More

Ahram Online (November 23, 2020): Egypt wraps up first day of run-off parliamentary elections

Kuwait Parliamentary Elections: December 5, 2020

Kuwait is holding parliamentary elections on December 5, 2020. As could be expected, COVID-19 and the government’s response is shaping public debate ahead of the elections. Meanwhile, populism is on the rise, exacerbated by the pandemic and falling oil prices. As a result, questions of citizenship look likely to play a role in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

All of this is happening in the context of the September 29 death of the emirSheikh Sabah, who had been emir since 2006 and prior to that was foreign minister for 40 years. More

Courtney Freer, Brookings Institution (November 19, 2020): How politics at home shapes Kuwait’s foreign policy

Algeria Early Legislative Elections: Possibly in 2020

Algerian authorities have proposed holding early legislative elections before the end of 2020, following a constitutional referendum that took place on November 1, 2020. This is all happening in the context of the Hirak protest movement, in which Algerians protested weekly throughout the country for over a year (stopping only due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Protesters called for, among other things, democratic elections in Algeria. More

Hillel Frisch, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (November 22, 2020): Algeria’s Referendum: Stirrings of Democracy and the Decline of Islamism

Bob Ghosh, Bloomberg (November 20, 2020): Algeria Blows Another Chance at Reform

Syria Presidential Election: April or May 2021

Syria is due to hold a presidential election between April 16 and May 16, 2021. The election comes in the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war, and will likely not be free, fair, or democratic.

Louay Rhebani, Enab Baladi (November 25, 2020): Is formation of Election Commission by opposition SNC an attempt to gain legitimacy or legitimize al-Assad regime?

Iran Presidential and Local Elections: June 18, 2021

Iran has scheduled its next presidential election for June 18, 2021, with concurrent local elections. More

Syed Zafar Mehdi, Andalou Agency (November 25, 2020): Iran’s top military figure announces presidential bid

Libya Local Elections (ongoing in various places) and Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: December 24, 2021 (tentative)

Libya’s national elections are overdue and have been postponed indefinitely due to the political crisis and civil war. However, in November 2020, Libyan stakeholders participating in UN-sponsored talks proposed December 24, 2021 for presidential and parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, some local elections have been taking place in various cities. More

Daily Sabah/AP (November 24, 2020): Parliamentarians from Libya’s three regions to meet in Morocco for talks

Al Jazeera (November 23, 2020): Libya rivals begin second round of talks on interim government

Patrick Wintour, The Guardian (November 21, 2020): Libya interior minister campaigns to lead country as fragile peace holds

Past Middle East Elections

Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Elections: November 15, 2020

Gilgit-Baltistan, the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, held elections for its legislative assembly on November 15, 2020. The elections took place in the context of the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, as well as increased Chinese presence due to Belt and Road. More

Frud Bezhan, Gandhara (November 25, 2020): ‘Perfect Storm’ Could Compel Pakistan To Change Status Of Disputed Territory In Kashmir

The Economist (November 24, 2020): Flare-ups between India and Pakistan in Kashmir are getting fiercer

Jayant Sriram, The Hindu (November 24, 2020): Pakistan’s move in Gilgit-Baltistan and what it means for India | The Hindu In Focus podcast

Tom Hussain, South China Morning Post (November 19, 2020): Protests erupt near Pakistan’s China border over vote-rigging claims in Gilgit-Baltistan

Jordan Parliamentary Elections: November 10, 2020

Jordan held parliamentary elections on November 10, 2020. Turnout was low, and both women and Islamist candidates saw poor resultsMore

Kristen Kao and E.J. Karmel, Washington Post (November 20, 2020): The pandemic compromised Jordan’s parliamentary elections

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