March 16, 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.
Election posters in Algeria during the 2012 elections. The country heads to the polls again this year for early legislative and local elections, after two years of protests by the Hirak movement. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Magharebia (CC BY 2.0)
Upcoming Middle East 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
Steve Hendrix, Washington Post (March 16, 2021): As Israelis head back to elections, there’s a new twist: Democrats in Washington
Tania Kraemer, DW (March 16, 2021): Israeli Labor Party looks to new leader as elections loom
Haaretz (March 10, 2021): As Israel Heads to Fourth Election in Two Years, Poll Predicts Political Deadlock
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
Omar H. Rahman, +972 Magazine (March 16, 2021): Why elections are key to re-energizing Palestinian politics
Motasem Ahmed Dalloul, TRT World (March 16, 2021): What does Hamas want from elections? Global legitimacy.
Ynet News (March 16, 2021): Hamas presents new leadership including a woman for the first time
Shahar Klaiman, (March 16, 2021): Why does Hamas want women in its leadership?
Aaron Boxerman and Jacob Magid, Times of Israel (March 13, 2021): In Jordan and Egypt, quiet qualms that Palestinian elections will boost Hamas
Abu Khaled Toameh, Jerusalem Post (March 11, 2021): After election standoff, Hamas reelects Yahya Sinwar as Gaza leader
Algeria Snap Legislative Elections: June 12, 2021, followed by local elections
AFP (March 13, 2021): Thousands protest in Algiers after election date announced
Anthony Skinner, Al-Monitor (March 12, 2021): Algeria’s Islamist parties failing to inspire
Al Jazeera (March 11, 2021): Algerian president sets June 12 for early legislative elections
Iran Presidential and Local Elections: June 18, 2021
Iran has scheduled its next presidential election for June 18, 2021, with concurrent local elections. More
Al-Monitor (March 12, 2021): Provocative music video leads to arrests in Iran
My latest for the @AtlanticCouncil on Iranian singer Sasy Mankan's latest hit, which features a cameo by an American adult film actress.
The video is such a big controversy in Iran right now that one journalist called it "more dangerous than polio." https://t.co/FM59AFb1gg
— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) March 15, 2021
Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL (March 11, 2021): Amid Nuclear Standoff, Who’s In The Running To Take The Reins In Iran?
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 humanitarian crisis. Elections under the regime of Bashar al-Assad are widely considered to be a sham. More
AFP (March 16, 2021): US lambasts Syria election at UN on 10th anniversary of war’s beginning
Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Reuters (March 16, 2021): Anger simmers over Syria’s economic collapse, but Assad appears secure
George Baghdadi, CBS News (March 15, 2021): Why Syria’s civil war is still a “living nightmare” after 10 years
Morocco Legislative and Local Elections: Summer/Fall 2021 (due)
Morocco is due to hold legislative, provincial, and local elections in fall and summer 2021. However, the three biggest political parties have called for a delay due to COVID-19. Local media are reporting that a source has indicated that all three sets of elections will take place on a single day in September 2021, but no date has been confirmed yet. The elections are taking place in the context of discontentment and disillusionment. More
Yasmina Abouzzohour, Lawfare (March 15, 2021): Heavy Lies the Crown: The Survival of Arab Monarchies, 10 Years After the Arab Spring
Tamba François Koundouno, Morocco World News (March 13, 2021): Electoral Quotas: Morocco’s Embattled PJD Is Fighting for Survival
— Souhail Karam (@Massinissa1973) March 16, 2021
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
Rami Musa and Samy Magdy, AP (March 15, 2021): Interim Libya government assumes power after smooth handover
Daily Sabah (March 15, 2021): PM Dbeibah sworn in on promise to guide Libya to elections
Past Middle East Elections
Pakistan Senate Elections (Indirect): March 3, 2021
Pakistan held indirect Senate elections on March 3. Prime Minister Imran Khan had oped his allies would gain a majority in the upper house, especially since a majority of the electors – MPs and provincial legislators – belong to his PTI. However, in a secret ballot, many crossed party lines and voted for opposition candidates, thus denying Khan his majority.
Asad Hashim, Al Jazeera (March 12, 2021): Pakistan Senate elects ruling alliance candidate as chairman
BBC (March 12, 2021): Pakistan Senate election: Row over ‘spy cameras’ in polling booth
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