March 2, 2021
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.
The port of Akko, Israel, one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the world. Israel heads to the polls this month for the fourth time in two years. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Oren Rozen (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Upcoming Middle East Elections
Pakistan Senate Elections (Indirect): March 3, 2021
Pakistan holds indirect Senate elections on March 3. Prime Minister Imran Khan hopes his allies will gain a majority in the upper house, which they currently do not have. If the electors – members of parliament and of provincial legislative assemblies – vote along party lines, he’ll get his majority, but because the vote is secret, it’s not a sure thing.
Reuters (March 3, 2021): Pakistan Senate Election Kicks off as Ruling Party Looks for Majority
Trey Marks, Foreign Brief (March 3, 2021): Pakistan to hold senate elections
Israel Snap Parliamentary Elections (Take 4): March 23, 2021
On March 23, 2021, Israel will hold its fourth general election in two years after the collapse of the unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. More
Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post (March 1, 2021): Israel Elections: Poll finds small parties could decide race
Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post (February 26, 2021): Israel Elections: Amid calls to drop out, Gantz faces his moment of truth
Lebanon Parliamentary By-Elections: March 2021 (proposed)
Lebanon is due to hold by-elections for 10 parliamentary seats that are currently vacant due to resignations in the wake of last year’s Beirut port explosion or deaths. Meanwhile, the Lebanese Forces, a major Christian political party, has called for early general elections.
Bassem Mroue, AP (March 2, 2021): Protests in Lebanon as local currency hits record low
Palestinian Authority Legislative Elections: May 22, 2021 and Presidential Election: July 31, 2021
The Palestinian Authority has scheduled long overdue elections for the legislature and president for May 22 and July 31, respectively. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 14 of a four-year term. Similarly, the last Legislative Council elections took place in 2006. More
Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post (March 1, 2021): Palestinian Election: Coronavirus, Fatah strife may delay, cancel vote
Ahmad Melhem, Al-Monitor (February 28, 2021): Despite international support, obstacles threaten Palestinian elections
Adnan Abu Amer, Al-Monitor (February 27, 2021): Hamas holds internal elections ahead of Palestinian general elections
La Croix International (February 25, 2021): Christians assured of seven seats in new Palestinian Legislative Council
Omar H. Rahman, Brookings Institution (February 24, 2021): Elections in Palestine: Prelude or ploy?
Iran Presidential and Local Elections: June 18, 2021
Iran has scheduled its next presidential election for June 18, 2021, with concurrent local elections. More
Murat Sofuoglu, TRT (March 2, 2021): Iran’s political fault lines blur as Biden extends sanctions
Read the latest @ACIranSource on IRGC Brigadier General Saeed Mohammad, a pontential presidential candidate.
Mohammad, often seen in suits and has a PhD, is commander of the US-sanctioned Khatam Al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters. https://t.co/5wr9eXzfXq
— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) March 1, 2021
Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations (February 27, 2021): Biden Fires a Warning Shot at Iran
Dominic Dudley, Forbes (February 24, 2021): Iran’s Next President Is Almost Certain To Be A Hardliner, Making Biden’s Outreach To Tehran Tougher
Libya 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
Patrick Wintour, The Guardian (March 2, 2021): Libya’s interim PM elected through bribery, UN inquiry says
Al Jazeera (February 27, 2021): Libya parliament to discuss new unity gov’t lineup on March 8
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
DW (March 3, 2021): Algeria: Protests resurge despite COVID restrictions
Latefa Guemar and Jessica Northey, openDemocracy (March 1, 2021): Hirak anniversary: Political prisoners freed as Algerians continue to protest
Turkey General Elections: By June 25, 2023 (snap elections possible)
Although Turkey is not due for general elections until 2023, there have been rumors of possible snap elections.
Orhan Coskun and Birsen Altayli, Reuters (March 2, 2021): With poll support dropping, Erdogan’s party looks to change Turkish relection law: officials
Past Middle East Elections
Tunisia Presidential and Legislative Elections: September/October 2019
Tunisia began transitioning to democracy in 2011, amid the Arab Spring protests, and in 2019, held the third national elections since the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The results indicated a rejection of the main political parties and post-Ben Ali political ideologies (Islamism and secular liberalism). However, some concerns lingered about the democratic process.
Tarek Amara, Reuters (February 27, 2021): Tunisia’s main party holds huge rally as government row grows
AFP (February 24, 2021): Tunisia ex-presidential candidate released on bail
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