Middle East This Week: April 6, 2021

April 6, 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.

Roman ruins at
Timgad, Algeria. Emperor Trajan built Timgad in 100 AD, but it laid under the desert sands for nearly 1,000 years after the fall of Rome. Algeria heads to the polls later this year. Photo credit: Wikimedia/PhR61 (CC BY 2.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

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

BBC (April 7, 2021): Biden administration to restore $235m in US aid to Palestinians

Barak Ravid, Axios (April 7, 2021): U.S. and Israel wary of potential Hamas win in Palestinian elections

AP (April 7, 2021): Palestinian leader ‘in good health’ ahead of election

Hagar Sehzaf, Haaretz (April 6, 2021): Gantz says Israel won’t interfere in Palestinian elections, but “won’t work with Hamas”

Al Jazeera (April 4, 2021): Palestinian election board approves candidate lists for May vote

AFP (April 4, 2021): Palestine approves 36 candidates for first elections in 15 years

Pakistan Azad Jammu and Kashmir Elections: Due in 2021

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), part of the Pakistan-administered portion of the disputed region of Kashmir, is due to hold legislative assembly elections soon. These follow elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, the other part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The elections were originally due by April 2, 2021, but haven’t been officially scheduled yet.

CBS News/AFP (April 7, 2021): Pakistan’s prime minister under fire for linking rise in rape cases to how women dress

Imran Mukhtar, The Nation Pakistan (April 2, 2021): PTI forms larger body to decide tickets for AJK elections 

Algeria Snap Legislative Elections: June 12, 2021, followed by local elections

Algeria will hold snap elections on June 12, 2021, following more than two years of protests by the Hirak movement. However, the government’s election plan has not actually satisfied the protesters, who continue to take to the streets.

AFP (April 4, 2021): Algerian opposition party to boycott legislative poll

AFP (April 2, 2021): Algeria protesters demand independent judiciary

Hossam Eddine Islam, Andalou Agency (March 31, 2021): Algeria elections ‘tool for change’: Opposition leader

Iran Presidential and Local Elections: June 18, 2021

Iran has scheduled its next presidential election for June 18, 2021, with concurrent local elections. While Iran is far from a free country, and the elections are largely rigged, voters do have a degree of choice. More

Dan Murphy, CNBC (April 7, 2021): Iran welcomes ‘new chapter’ in nuclear talks as Washington seeks to heal ‘profound differences’ in Vienna

Syed Zafar Mehdi, Andalou Agency (April 7, 2021): Iran: Ex-IRGC official’s election bid stirs controversy

Moziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera (April 7, 2021): Is Clubhouse boosting democracy in Iran?

Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL (April 6, 2021): Public spat reveals division in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards ahead of vote

Amir Rashidi, Atlantic Council (April 2, 2021): Social media helps and hurts Iranian elections. Here’s how.

Jordan Local Elections: By September 2021 (due)

Jordan is due to hold local elections by September 2021. These follow parliamentary elections, which happened on November 10, 2020. Turnout was low, and both women and Islamist candidates saw poor resultsMore

Frederick Deknatel, World Politics Review (April 5, 2021): What’s really behind Jordan’s royal family feud?

AP (April 3, 2021): Jordanian prince issues video statement saying he is under house arrest, barred from communicating with people

Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: October 10, 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

AP (March 31, 2021): Iraqi Parliament Approves Budget of $89 Billion for 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

Sarah Vernhes, The Africa Report (April 6, 2021): Libya: Is Haftar losing control of his forces in Benghazi?

Patrick Wintour, The Guardian (April 5, 2021): Female Libyan activists demand politicians stick to election timetable

Karim Mezran and Tahani Elmogrbi, Atlantic Council (April 2, 2021): The end of Libya’s nightmare or the beginning of a new one?

Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections: October 2023 and Presidential Election: September 2024 (due – early elections possible)

Afghanistan is due to hold its next presidential election in September 2024, but an early election is possible. Elections tend to be marred by violence, administrative problems, and lengthy delays. The current president, Ashraf Ghani, ultimately won re-election in a very tense vote and a tense four months in between the election and the final declaration of results. The election took place amid attacks by the Taliban, which had ordered Afghans not to vote.

Eltaf Najafizada, Bloomberg (April 3, 2021): Afghanistan’s Ghani will not run in election he proposed, adviser says

Past Middle East Elections

Israel Parliamentary Elections, Take 4: March 23, 2021

On March 23, 2021, Israel held its fourth general election in two years after the collapse of the unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Neither Netanyahu’s allies nor his opponents won a majority, so if anyone wants to form a government, they will need to get creative. More

Isabel Kershner, New York Times (April 6, 2021): Netanyahu gets first crack at forming new government in Israel

Barak Ravid, Axios (April 6, 2021): Israel’s election: Ideological foes weigh pact to oust Netanyahu

Ilan Ben Zion, AP (April 5, 2021): Israel’s Netanyahu in court as parties weigh in on his fate

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