July 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.
Traditional houses called Sanashels, dating from the 19th century, in Basra, Iraq. Iraq holds elections later this year. Photo credit: Flickr/David Stanley (CC BY 2.0)
Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Elections: July 25, 2021
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), part of the Pakistan-administered portion of the disputed region of Kashmir, will hold elections on July 25, 2021. These follow elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, the other part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The elections were originally due by April 2, 2021, but have been delayed.
The region is a geopolitical hotspot. Tensions with India (India and Pakistan have fought three wars, including two over Kashmir) are growing and both sides are upping their military presence. Moreover, the area is a centerpiece of China’s Belt and Road, which further inflames Pakistan’s relations with India.
Express Tribune Pakistan (July 7, 2021): Deployment of troops, police approved for ‘fair election’ in AJK
AP (July 7, 2021): Pakistan rejects naming of PM Khan as press freedom ‘predator’
Sammy Westfall, Washington Post (July 2, 2021): Pakistan’s prime minister embraces China’s policy toward Uyghurs in remarks on Communist Party centenary
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
Dr Zana Gulmohamad, The New Arab (July 7, 2021): October revolution: How Iraq’s protest movement parties are shaping the political debate
Sura Ali, Rudaw (July 5, 2021): More than 24 million voters registered for the upcoming elections
Shahyan Tahseen, Rudaw (July 3, 2021 – interview): Abadi enters election campaign with ‘project to save Iraq’
The New Arab (July 1, 2021): Iraq PM reels in activists, journalists as candidates for upcoming election
— Brookings FP (@BrookingsFP) June 30, 2021
Qatar Shura Council Elections: October 2021 (announced – date not set)
Qatar has announced that it will hold its first-ever parliamentary elections in October 2021. More
Qatar News Agency (July 1, 2021): Cabinet discusses draft law on Shura Council polls
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
Libya: the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum has failed to reach an agreement on the drafting of a new electoral law.
— Africa Elects (@AfricaElect) July 3, 2021
Reuters (July 3, 2021): UN-backed Libya talks fail to reach consensus on elections
Abdulkader Assad, Libya Observer (July 3, 2021): Haftar threatens to “liberate Tripoli again” if Libyan elections fail
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.
Tamara Qiblawi, Mostafa Salem and Reuters, CNN (July 6, 2021): Lebanon is days away from a ‘social explosion,’ prime minister warns
Ben Hubbard, New York Times (July 5, 2021): As Lebanon’s Crisis Deepens, Lines for Fuel Grow, and Food and Medicine Are Scarce: The World Bank said the financial crisis could rank among the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s. The currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value and unemployment has skyrocketed.
Baria Alamuddin, Arab News (July 4, 2021): Lebanese leaders can’t halt the oncoming electoral tsunami
— Kareem Chehayeb | كريم شهيب (@chehayebk) July 1, 2021
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.
Joel Greenberg, BBC (July 2, 2021): Nizar Banat: Palestinians turn on leaders after activist’s death
Al Jazeera (July 2, 2021): A critic’s death turns eyes on the Palestinian Authority: Demands for accountability in Palestine are growing louder following the death of activist Nizar Banat in PA custody.
Omar H. Rahman, Foreign Policy (July 2, 2021): U.S. Support Is Keeping the Undemocratic Palestinian Authority Alive
Iran Presidential and Local Elections: June 18, 2021
Iran held its next presidential election on June 18, 2021, with concurrent local elections. While Iran is far from a free country, and the elections are largely rigged, voters have in the past had a degree of choice. However, this year’s election was even more rigged than usual. The Guardian Council (which must approve all candidacies) allowed seven candidates on the ballot and mostly excluded moderates and establishment figures, among them a number of prominent names. This seemed to be calculated to clear the way for hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi to win, and he did in fact win. More
Times of Israel (July 6, 2021): Iraqi militia chief boasts: Election of Raisi will boost Iran’s regional proxies
Sarbas Nazari, Al-Monitor (July 6, 2021): The bizarre case of ‘blank votes’ in Iran’s elections: In the face of an embarrassing record number of invalid votes cast in the latest elections, Iran’s leadership continues to either look the other way or scramble for a justification.
James Andre, France24 (July 6, 2021 – video): Presidential election in Iran: the reasons behind the low turnout
Reuters (July 1, 2021): Iran names hardline cleric as top judge amid calls for probe into past abuses
Algeria Snap Legislative Elections: June 12, 2021, followed by local elections later this year
Algeria held snap elections on June 12, 2021, following more than two years of protests by the Hirak movement. However, the government’s election plan did not actually satisfied the Hirak, who boycotted the elections and continue to protest. The absence of the Hirak, who are mostly secular, from the elections has paved the way for Islamist parties to become the main opposition. Ultimately, the FLN, the country’s long-dominant nationalist secular party, won the elections.
AP (July 5, 2021): Algeria president orders some protesters freed from jail
Farid Alilat, The Africa Report (July 2, 2021): Is Tebboune’s Algeria more repressive than Bouteflika’s?
Algeria has just seen its lowest ever voter turnout, weakening the standing of those elected and exposing an ongoing divide
— openDemocracy (@openDemocracy) July 1, 2021
Al Jazeera (June 30, 2021): Algeria names finance min Ayman Benabderrahmane as prime minister: Ayman Benabderrahmane, 60, has been tasked with forming a new government following parliamentary elections.
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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