Middle East This Week: November 9, 2021

November 9, 2021

A weekly review 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 Tripoli skyline. Libya is due to hold elections in December. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Bryn Jones (CC BY 2.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Algeria Early Local Elections: November 27, 2021

Algeria plans to hold early local elections on November 27, 2021. These follow the snap elections held 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.

Andalou Agency (November 2, 2021 – in French): Algeria local elections: 34 percent of candidates rejected by election authorities

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

Richard Spencer, Times of London (November 8, 2021): Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar may recognise Israel for election support

Hani Amara and Ahmed Elumami, Reuters (November 7, 2021): Libyan premier to run for president as election turmoil grows

Patrick Wintour, The Guardian (November 7, 2021): Libya’s PM and president in dispute over foreign minister’s suspension

Samy Magdy, AP (November 7, 2021): Libya govt rejects suspension of FM weeks before election

Al Jazeera (November 7, 2021): Libya set to open registration for election candidates

Lebanon Parliamentary Elections: March 27, 2022

Lebanon has set parliamentary elections for March 27, 2022, over a month early. 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.

Chloe Cornish and Elie Wehbe, Financial Times (November 7, 2021): Bankrupt Lebanon left to rue criticism of Saudi Arabia

Nicholas Blanford, Atlantic Council (November 5, 2021): Lebanon is facing two crises. Will the new prime minister survive?

Mustafa Alrawi, Axios (November 3, 2021): Why Saudi Arabia is outraged at Lebanon

Marc Daou, France24 (November 2, 2021): What political, economic consequences will Lebanon face over Saudi Arabia row?

Stratfor (November 2, 2021): A Row Over Yemen Sends Lebanon-Gulf Ties Spiraling

Pakistan General Elections: By October 12, 2023

Pakistan is due to hold its next general elections by October 12, 2023.

Asif Shahzad and Mubasher Mukhari, Reuters (November 2, 2021): Pakistan to allow banned Islamist group to contest votes to end clashes

Umair Jamal, The Diplomat (November 2, 2021): Pakistan’s TLP Emerges Stronger From Protests

Past Middle East Elections

Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: October 10, 2021=

Iraq held early elections on October 10 (postponed from the original proposal of holding them on June 6, 2021, one year early) as a result of the pro-democracy protests that began in 2019. The country is also due to hold provincial (sometimes called governorate) elections.

The elections took place in the context of widespread protest and political instability. The political climate is violent and chaotic, with over 600 people killed since the start of the protests. Moreover, a number of political parties have announced plans to boycott the polls.

The Shi’ite firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, one of Iraq’s most influential politicians, had announced a boycott, but has reversed course and urged his followers to support the elections. He subsequently proceeded to win the elections. More

Renad Mansour, Foreign Affairs (November 10, 2021): Iraq’s Protesters Become Parliamentarians: A Tenuous Coalition Seeks to Topple Baghdad’s Elite Consensus

Qassim Abdul-Zahra, AP (November 7, 2021): Tension rises in Iraq after failed bid to assassinate PM

Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim, Washington Post (November 5, 2021): Backers of Iran-linked militias try to storm Baghdad’s Green Zone after election losses

Al Jazeera (November 5, 2021): Protests against Iraq election results turn violent

Morocco Legislative and Local Elections: September 8, 2021

Morocco held legislative, provincial, and local elections on September 8, 2021. The elections took place in the context of discontentment and disillusionment. The moderate Islamic democratic Party of Justice and Development (PJD), which won the most seats in the 2016 elections, lost badly and will not form the next government.

Although the current monarch, King Mohammed VI, has instituted a number of political reforms, he still plays a major role in governing, both through formal structures and informally. Following the 2011 constitutional reforms, the king must appoint a prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in parliament, but the king can still circumvent elected officials in various ways (including dissolving parliament or simply issuing decrees).

Maâti Monjib, Carnegie Endowment (November 9, 2021): The Local Notables Unseat Islamists in Moroccan Elections

Kuwait Parliamentary Elections: December 5, 2020

Kuwait held parliamentary elections on December 5, 2020. As could be expected, COVID-19 and the government’s response shaped public debate ahead of the elections. Meanwhile, populism is on the rise, exacerbated by the pandemic and falling oil prices. More

Fiona Macdonald, Bloomberg (November 8, 2021): Kuwait Cabinet Quits In Step Toward Ending Political Impasse

AP (November 8, 2021): Kuwait government resigns for the second time this year

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. Netanyahu, whose conservative Likud party won the most seats, had the first chance to form a coalition, but he failed. Subsequently, Yair Lapid from the centrist Yesh Atid formed a broad coalition with conservative Naftali Bennett, with Bennett as prime minister for a time before rotating the position to Lapid. A number of other parties are in the coalition, which passed a Knesset vote on June 14, thus ending Netanyahu’s 12 years in office. However, the coalition remains tenuous. More

Steve Hendrix, Washington Post (November 4, 2021): Israel staves off new elections by approving first budget in three years

Alyse Messmer, Newsweek (November 4, 2021): Netanyahu Won’t Get Chance to Retake Leadership Position as Israel Avoids Snap Elections

Times of Israel (November 2, 2021): Thousands rally against government in Tel Aviv as budget battle looms

Archaeological Discovery

Reuters (November 2, 2021): Wine press dating back 2,700 years discovered in northern Iraq

Middle East Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Algeria Early Local Elections: November 27, 2021

Palestinian Authority Local Elections Stage 1 of 2: December 11, 2021 (tentative)

Libya Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: December 24, 2021

Jordan Local and Gubernatorial Elections: Fall 2021 (due)

Lebanon Early Parliamentary Elections: March 27, 2022

Bahrain Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)

Egypt Local Elections: Due and discussed, but not scheduled

Oman Local 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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