May 10, 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.
Beirut, Lebanon. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Vyacheslav Argenberg (CC BY 4.0)
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.
Sunniva Rose, The National UAE (May 10, 2022): Hezbollah supporters defiant ahead of Lebanese election
Raya Jalabi, Financial Times (May 9, 2022): Patronage and threats favour Lebanon’s Hizbollah in key election: Absence of an alternative means Iran-backed group set to dominate in upcoming vote, say experts
AP (May 8, 2022): Lebanese in 48 countries voting in parliamentary elections
Libya Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: Delayed from December 2021 – date TBD (possibly by June 2022)
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. Following the election delay, the political crisis deepened, and there are currently two rival governments.
The UN has urged elections by June 2022. Libya’s parliament had said elections would not take place this year, but the new interim prime minister, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, later said that the elections would happen by June.
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
Andalou Agency (May 10, 2022): US urges Libyans to agree on constitutional basis for elections
Ferhat Polat, The Africa Report (May 4, 2022): Libya: Why political stability remains elusive
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.
Tarek Amara, Reuters (May 10, 2022): Tunisian president names new election commission members
Pakistan General Elections: By October 12, 2023
Pakistan is due to hold its next general elections by October 12, 2023. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan has surprisingly called for early elections after surviving a no-confidence vote. However, it is unclear when – or whether – the snap elections will take place.
Khan, a former cricket star, came to power following the turbulent 2018 elections, and his time in office has not been calm. In 2020, his party took a major political hit when it failed to win a majority in the Senate, and he has faced several no-confidence threats. Instability has been a characteristic of Pakistan’s politics since its founding. In fact, no prime minister has completed a full term since the country’s founding in 1947.
Pakistan is a geopolitical hotspot, between the conflict in Kashmir and continued heavy military presence and China’s increased presence through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Umair Jamal, The Diplomat (May 10, 2022): Imran Khan’s Political Career Far From Over: Within a month of his ouster, the former Pakistani PM has been able to revive his support base substantially, prompting many to believe that he could win an election today.
Sabena Siddiqui, The New Arab (May 3, 2022): Will Pakistan tilt towards Saudi Arabia?
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.
Sadr, who opposes both Iranian and American influence in Iraqi politics – was thought to be the likely be the kingmaker in the new government. But he is currently refusing to conduct talks with his rivals, resulting in deadlock. More
Thanassis Cambanis, World Politics Review (May 10, 2022): Despite the Stalemate in Baghdad, Iraq’s Political Winds Are Shifting
Stratfor (May 5, 2022): Iraq: Deadline for Independents to Form Government Approaches
Julian Bechocha, Rudaw (May 4, 2022): Sadr calls on independent MPs to form government
Libya Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: Overdue (delayed from December 24, 2021 – no date set but some have proposed to hold the elections by June 2022)
Tunisia Constitutional Referendum: July 25, 2022
Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Parliamentary Elections: October 1, 2022
Bahrain Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)
Tunisia Early Legislative Elections: December 17, 2022
Turkey Presidential and Legislative Elections: By June 18, 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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