Middle East This Week: December 1, 2020

December 1, 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.

Lion sculptures in the central square of Ramallah, administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian elections are long overdue, and it looks like they will be delayed further. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Ralf Lotys (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Kuwait Parliamentary Elections: December 5, 2020

Kuwait holds 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

The Media Line (December 1, 2020): Record Number of Women Running in Kuwaiti Elections

Algeria Early Legislative Elections: Proposed

Algerian authorities have proposed holding early legislative elections 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

Amnesty International (November 27, 2020): Algeria: European Parliament calls for action on human rights and expresses solidarity with demonstrators

Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: June 6, 2021 (tentative) and Provincial Elections (due)

Iraq’s government has proposed holding snap parliamentary elections on June 6, 2021, one year early, following the demands of protesters. However, parliament still has to pass a new electoral law and allocate a budget for the elections in order for them to actually happen. Therefore, the date remains tentative. Iraq is also due to hold provincial (sometimes called governorate) elections. Preparations are taking place in the context of widespread protest and political instability. More

Al Jazeera (November 27, 2020): Tens of thousands of Sadr supporters rally in Iraq

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.

Lisa Schlein, Voice of America (November 29, 2020): Syrian Constitutional Talks Resume With Little Prospect of Breakthrough

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. More

Daily Sabah (November 28): Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions, convene elected parliament soon

Palestinian Authority Legislative – Long Overdue (date could be set soon)

Palestinian elections are long overdue. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 14 of a four-year term. Legislative Council elections are similarly long overdue – the last took place in 2006. Elections are on hold indefinitely in the midst of a deadlocked conflict between the Gaza-baed Hamas and Abbas’s secularist Fatah, based in the West Bank.

Mehul Srivastava, Financial Times (November 30, 2020): Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas pushes back against elections

Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post (December 2, 2020): After dumping Hamas, Abbas seeks to restore ties with Gulf states

Israel Parliamentary Elections: Due in 2023, but snap elections possible

Israel might be headed to its fourth general election in less than two years if the unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz collapses. More

Barak Ravid, Axios (December 2, 2020): Israeli parliament opts for early elections in preliminary vote

Mehul Srivastava, Financial Times (December 1, 2020): A murder in Tehran may signal elections in Jerusalem

Past 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

Vivian Yee, New York Times (November 30, 2020): Accepting the Danger of Human Rights Work in Egypt, With Food and Humor

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

Ghulam Abbas, Pakistan Today (November 30, 2020): PTI’s Khalid Khursheed elected as GB [Chief Minister]

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