Middle East This Week: December 8, 2020

December 8, 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.

A boat on the Nile in southern Egypt. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Abdelrahman Abdelazeem (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Egypt Parliamentary Elections: October-December 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

Mohammed Abu Zaid, Arab News (December 7, 2020): Last round of Egyptian parliamentary elections begins

Yasmin Helal, Arab Reform Initiative (December 9, 2020): The Pavements Don’t Speak: Silencing Street Theatre in Egypt

Israel, Local Elections in Jerusalem: December 22, 2020 and Possible Snap Parliamentary Elections

Peggy Cidor, Jerusalem Post (December 9, 2020): Local elections take Jerusalem

Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post (December 3, 2020): Israel’s fourth election: What will be the same, what will be different?

Iran Presidential and Local Elections: June 18, 2021

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

Saeid Jafari Foreign Policy (December 3, 2020): Biden Needs to Move Fast if He Wants a New Deal With Iran

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

Omar al-Jaffal, Al-Monitor (December 4, 2020): Muqtada Sadr is preparing a bid to gain Iraq’s prime minister position

Laura Hurst, Salma El Wardany, Grant Smith, and Alfred Cang, Bloomberg (December 8, 2020): China bails out Iraq with long-term, upfront cash deal for oil

Bruce Riedel and Katherine Harvey, Brookings Institution (December 4, 2020): Why is Saudi Arabia finally engaging with 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.

Sultan al-Kanj, Al-Monitor (December 8, 2020): Syrian opposition retracts decision on electoral committee

Daily Sabah/Andalou Agency (December 6, 2020): Syrian opposition plans to start writing constitution in 5th round of Geneva talks

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

Jalel Harchaoui, Foreign Policy Research Institute (December 7, 2020): Why Turkey Intervened in Libya

Daily Sabah/AFP (December 4, 2020): Libyan political process hangs in balance as deep divisions persist

Past Middle East Elections

Kuwait Parliamentary Elections: December 5, 2020

Kuwait held parliamentary elections on December 5, 2020. As could be expected, COVID-19 and the government’s response shaped 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

Al-Jazeera (December 8, 2020): Sheikh Sabah reappointed Kuwait PM

Fiona MacDonald, Bloomberg (December 6, 2020): Kuwait’s Voter ‘Uprising’ Ousts More Than Half of Parliament

DW/AFP (December 6, 2020): Kuwait election delivers all-male parliament

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

Hillel Frisch, Jerusalem Post (December 9, 2020): In Jordan’s 2020 parliamentary elections the king wins hands down

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