June 1, 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.
Masoudieh Palace in Tehran. Iran holds its presidential election this month, although many candidates have been barred from the ballot. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Kiantavakoli (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Upcoming Middle East Elections
Algeria Snap Legislative Elections: June 12, 2021, followed by local elections later this year
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 Hirak, who continue to take to the streets and have decided to boycott the elections. The absence of the Hirak, who are mostly secular, from the elections has paved the way for Islamist parties to become the main opposition.
Abdelkader Cheref, The New Arab (May 26, 2021): Algeria’s Hirak movement returns in force ahead of elections
— Ricard Gonzalez (@RicardGonz) May 25, 2021
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
Pouria Mahrouyan, BBC (June 1, 2021): Iran’s presidential election: Four ways it matters
Reuters (June 1, 2021): Iran says nuclear talks not at impasse, but difficult issues remain
Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times (May 31, 2021): ‘Freedom is not a western commodity’: Inside Iranian reformers’ battle for change
Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times (May 31, 2021): Iran Clears Way for Hard-line Judiciary Chief to Become President: Potential rivals to Ebrahim Raisi, Ayatollah Khamenei’s favored choice, were barred from the June 18 election, and the remaining candidates do not present a serious challenge.
Ian Bremmer, Time (May 29, 2021): Who Will Be Iran’s Next President and What Does It Mean for the Region
Shabnam von Hein, DW (May 29, 2021): Iranian hardliners aim for total control: The Guardian Council has barred establishment candidate Ali Larijani from the presidential race. That says a lot about Iran’s political culture.
Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: October 10, 2021 (tentative) and Provincial Elections (due)
Iraq’s government had proposed holding snap parliamentary elections on June 6, 2021, one year early, following the demands of protesters. However, the tentative date has been pushed to October. The country is also due to hold provincial (sometimes called governorate) elections. Preparations are taking place in the context of widespread protest and political instability. More
Edith M. Lederer, AP (May 27, 2021): UN authorizes monitors for Iraq’s elections in October
James Reinl, The National UAE (May 27, 2021): UN expands Iraq team amid fears of election violence
Stratfor (May 27, 2021): Protests Back Iraq’s New Government Into a Corner
Al Jazeera (May 27, 2021): US condemns violent security crackdown on Iraqi protesters
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
Al Jazeera (May 29, 2021): Will Libya commander Haftar run in December’s election? The renegade military commander is holding rallies and polishing his image ahead of polls, according to Libya observers.
Sean Matthews, Al Jazeera (May 28, 2021): Chairman of Libya’s High Council of State talks elections, Turkey
Lebanon Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due
Lebanon is due to hold general elections in May 2022, although some parties have called for early elections. The country has been in a political crisis and without a government since the port explosion in Beirut, in which 215 people died, 7,500 were injured, and 300,000 were left homeless. Moreover, Lebanon is in an economic crisis.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN (May 28, 2021): ‘Mafias’ and ‘militias’ have brought Lebanon to its knees, activists say
Palestinian Authority Presidential and Legislative Elections: Long overdue, postponed indefinitely
The Palestinian Authority has postponed its long overdue elections for the legislature and president, which had been scheduled for May 22 and July 31, respectively. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 16 of a four-year term. Similarly, the last Legislative Council elections took place in 2006.
Ghaith al-Omari, World Politics Review (May 27, 2021): Palestinian Politics Are More Divided Than Ever
Past Middle East Elections
Syria Presidential Election: May 26, 2021
Syria held its presidential election for May 26, 2021. The election happened 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
Ali Aljasem, The Conversation (May 28, 2021): Syrian election: Bashar al-Assad wins with 95% of votes as world watches in disbelief
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. Netanyahu, whose conservative Likud party won the most seats, had the first chance to form a coalition, but he failed.
Yair Lapid from the centrist Yesh Atid is currently trying to form a coalition, but a fifth election remains a possibility. More
Times of Israel (June 1, 2021): A political prince vs. a bereaved mother: MKs to elect Israel’s 11th president
Miriam Berger, Washington Post (June 1, 2021): What to know about Naftali Bennett, the Israeli politician who could succeed Benjamin Netanyahu
Michael Hauser Tov and Jack Khoury, Haaaretz (June 1, 2021): Islamist Party Leader Says Will Be ‘Part of the Coalition’ as Lapid’s Government Deadline Nears
Josef Federman, AP (May 30, 2021): Netanyahu could lose PM job as rivals attempt to join forces
Middle East Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022
Bahrain Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)
Egypt Local Elections: Due and discussed, but not scheduled
Oman Municipal Elections: Due, but postponed due to COVID-19
Palestinian Authority Presidential and Legislative Elections: Long overdue, postponed yet again, no date set
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