February 8, 2022
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 Al-Naga Mosque in Tripoli, Libya. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Abdul-Jawad Elhusuni (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Upcoming Middle East Elections
Jordan Local Elections: March 22, 2022
Jordan will hold local elections on March 22, 2022. These follow parliamentary elections, which happened on November 10, 2020. Turnout was low, and both women and Islamist candidates saw poor results. Subsequently, King Abdullah II announced a new high-level committee to enact political reforms. This is not the first such effort in Jordan, and past attempts at change have been a disappointment to those who hope for reform, but it could be promising. Despite challenges, Jordan has generally been stable and politically moderate.
Jordan has been a close partner of the United States for several decades, and was designated a major non-NATO ally in 1996. More
Rana Husseini, Jordan Times (February 8, 2022): Number of local election candidates reaches 4,213 — IEC
Palestinian Authority Local Elections Phase 2: March 26, 2022 and General Elections: Long Overdue
The Palestinian Authority is holding elections in two phases, the first of which took place on December 11, 2021, and the second of which is due on March 26, 2022. The PA 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 17 of a four-year term. Similarly, the last Legislative Council elections took place in 2006.
Hamas, which controls Gaza, did not allow the local elections to take place there in December and has said it will also bar the March elections.
Thomas Grove and Fatima AbdulKarim, Wall Street Journal (February 8, 2022): Israel Offers Economic Help to Palestinians in Bid to Stem Influence of Hamas
Andrew Findell-Aghnatios and Tala Majzoub, Arab Reform Initiative (February 3, 2022): From inside and outside: Palestinian youth reshaping old electoral systems
Lebanon Parliamentary Elections: May 15, 2022
Lebanon has set parliamentary elections for May 15, 2022. 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, with its currency hitting record lows and crippling inflation.
Many Lebanese people are in a state of despair, but some have hope that the upcoming elections could bring a hint of change.
The UN Security Council last week "underlined the importance of holding free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections as scheduled on 15 May 2022".https://t.co/xlhFpa92CH
— Emma Graham (@themmagraham) February 8, 2022
Tunisia Constitutional Referendum: July 15, 2022 and Early Legislative Elections: December 17, 2022
Tunisia will hold a constitutional referendum and early elections in 2022, following protests sparked by President Kais Saied’s dismissal of the government, a move some deemed a coup.
Tunisia began transitioning to democracy in 2011, amid the Arab Spring protests, and in 2019, held the third national elections since the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Political outsider and populist Kais Saied won the presidency. The results indicated a rejection of the main political parties and post-Ben Ali political ideologies (Islamism and secular liberalism). However, some concerns lingered about the democratic process.
Political and civil society actors hope that the early elections can return Tunisia to a democratic path.
Benjamin Fox, Euractiv (February 3, 2022): Tunisia’s democracy on the brink as President Saied cracks down
Libya Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: Delayed from December 2021 – date TBD
Libya’s national elections are overdue and have been postponed due to the political crisis and civil war. Most recently, the country missed the scheduled date of December 24, 2021 for the polls, and it is unclear when they will happen. The UN has urged elections by June 2022, but Libya’s parliament has said elections would not take place this year.
Since the collapse of Muammar Qaddafi’s dictatorship in 2011, Libya has been in crisis. The country is important because of its oil resources, as well as its ports, which have become a springboard for migrants to Europe. As such, foreign powers remain heavily involved. More
Ahmed Elumami and Ayman al-Warfali, Reuters (February 8, 2022): With elections delayed again, Libya’s endless transition angers its people
Samy Magdy, AP (February 7, 2022): Libya’s parliament to appoint new PM, increasing tensions
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 ultimately reversed course and urged his followers to support the elections. He subsequently proceeded to win the elections. However, other parties – specifically, pro-Iran Shi’ite parties – challenged the election results. The Supreme Court rejected the challenge, and Sadr, who opposes both Iranian and American influence in Iraqi politics – will be the kingmaker in the new government. More
Al Jazeera (February 8, 2022): Why Iraqi lawmakers failed to elect a new president: Legislators, many of them allied with powerful Shia Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr, stayed away from the parliament session.
AFP (February 7, 2022): Iraq’s parliament indefinitely postpones presidential election
The New Arab (February 7, 2022): Iran’s Quds Force commander visits Iraq amid election deadlock
Mustafa Saadoun, Al-Monitor (February 3, 2022): Will Sadr lead Shiite political scene, exclude Iran’s allies from Cabinet?
Abbas Kadhim, Atlantic Council (February 3, 2022): Iraq is forming a new government. But getting there will be complicated.
Middle East Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023
Libya Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: Overdue (delayed from December 24, 2021 – no date set)
Palestinian Authority Local Elections Phase 2: March 26, 2022
Tunisia Constitutional Referendum: July 25, 2022
Bahrain Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)
Tunisia Early Legislative Elections: December 17, 2022
Turkey Presidential and Legislative Elections: By June 18, 2023
Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Parliamentary Elections: September 2023
Pakistan General Elections: By October 12, 2023
Israel Local Elections: October 2023
Oman Consultative Assembly Elections: October 2023
United Arab Emirates Federal National Council Elections: October 2023 (indirect elections, advisory body with limited powers)
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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