- Election Watch
(December 2005–March 2006)
Belarus: A presidential election was scheduled for March 19; results will be reported in a future issue.
Benin: A presidential election was held March 5; results will be reported in a future issue.
Bolivia: Former coca farmer Evo Morales of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) became the country's first indigenous president after winning 54 percent in polling on December 18. José Quiroga of Social and Democratic Power (PODEMOS) came in second with 29 percent. In legislative elections held the same day, MAS and PODEMOS won 72 and 43 seats respectively in the 130-seat Chamber of Deputies, and 13 and 12 seats respectively in the 27-seat Senate. Remaining seats were split between the National Unity Front and the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement. Turnout was 84 percent.
Cape Verde: In January 22 elections for the 72-seat National Assembly, the ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) won 41 seats; the Movement for Democracy (MPD), 29 seats; and the Cape Verdian Independent and Democratic Union, 2 seats. In a February 12 presidential election, incumbent Pedro Pires of the PAICV was reelected with 51 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating MPD candidate Carlos Veiga, with 49 percent. Turnout was roughly 50 percent in both elections.
Chile: In a presidential runoff held January 15, one-time political prisoner Michelle Bachelet of the ruling Coalition of Parties for Democracy (CPD) won 53 percent of the vote, defeating billionaire Sebastián Piñera of the National Renovation (RN) party and becoming the country's first [End Page 176] female head of state. In the December 11 first round, Bachelet led with 46 percent, while Piñera received 25 percent and Joaquín Lavín of the Independent Democratic Union (UDI) received 23 percent. In concurrent legislative elections, the CPD won 11 of the 20 contested Senate seats and 65 seats in the 120-seat Chamber of Deputies. The Alliance for Chile, which includes the RN and the UDI, won 8 upper-house and 54 lower-house seats.
Colombia: Legislative elections were scheduled for March 12; results will be reported in a future issue.
Costa Rica: In a February 5 presidential election, ex-president and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias of the Party of National Liberation (PLN) defeated Ottón Solis of the Citizens' Action Party (PAC) by 40.5 to 40.3 percent—a margin so narrow that it prompted a manual recount. In elections to the 57-member Legislative Assembly held the same day, 25 seats went to the PLN, 18 to the PAC, and 6 to the Libertarian Movement. The Social Christian Unity Party of outgoing president Abel Pacheco saw its seat share drop from 19 to 4.
El Salvador: Legislative elections were scheduled for March 12; results will be reported in a future issue.
Haiti: According to official results of the February 7 election, the first since the 2004 rebellion that deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former president René Préval of the Hope Party (Lespwa) captured 51 percent of the votes cast. Former president Leslie Manigat of the Rally of Progressive National Democrats finished second with 12 percent. All other candidates won less than 10 percent. Both the election and the vote count were marred by violence and allegations of fraud. First-round parliamentary elections were held on the same day, and a second round was scheduled for March 19. Results will be reported in a future issue.
Honduras: Elections to the 128-member National Congress took place on November 27. Newly elected president Manuel Zelaya's Liberal Party secured 62 seats, the National Party of outgoing president Ricardo Maduro secured 55, and three smaller parties split the remaining 11. Results for the concurrent presidential election were reported in our January issue.
Iraq: Parliamentary elections were held on December 15 to replace the Transitional National Assembly elected in January 2005. Of the 275 seats, 128 went to the Shi'ite United Iraqi Alliance, 53 to the Kurdistan Alliance, 44 to the Sunni Accord Front, 25 to the secular Iraqi List, and 11 to the Sunni National Dialogue Front. Despite the violence surrounding the elections, turnout amounted to...