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  • Election Watch

(September–December 2016)

Belarus: In September 11 parliamentary elections for the 110-seat House of Representatives, progovernment candidates won 108 seats. Opposition candidates Anna Kanopatskaya of the United Civic Party (UCP) and Yelena Anisim, an independent, won the remaining two seats, the first opposition victories since 1996. Observers with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) expressed concern over “serious deficiencies” observed during early voting, as well as restrictive media coverage during the campaign.

Bulgaria: In the first presidential round held on November 6, none of the 21 candidates secured an absolute majority, prompting a November 13 runoff. Roumen Radev, an independent supported by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), won 59.4 percent of the vote; Tsetska Tsacheva of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) won 36.2 percent. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of GERB tendered his resignation following Radev’s electoral victory, and snap parliamentary elections are expected in early 2017.

Cape Verde: In the October 2 presidential election, incumbent Jorge Carlos Fonseca of the Movement for Democracy party (MpD) was reelected to a second five-year term with 74 percent of the vote. Fonseca defeated independent candidates Albertino Graca (22.5 percent) and Joaquim Jaime Monteiro (3.4 percent). The leading opposition party, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), failed to nominate a presidential candidate after sustaining substantial losses against the MpD in parliamentary elections held in March 2016.

Côte d’Ivoire: Elections for the 225-seat National Assembly were scheduled for December 18. Results will be reported in a future issue. [End Page 179]

The Gambia: In December 1 presidential elections, opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow won a surprising victory, taking 43.3 percent of the vote and defeating longtime incumbent Yahya Jammeh of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), who won 39.6 percent. Mammah Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) won 17 percent. While initially accepting defeat, Jammeh subsequently rejected the results as fraudulent, ordering the seizure of the election commission’s headquarters and petitioning the Supreme Court for a new vote. The UN, African Union, and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have issued statements urging Jammeh to accept the results.

Ghana: In the December 7 presidential election, Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 53.9 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who won 44.4 percent, as well as five other candidates who each won 1 percent or less. In concurrent elections for the 275-seat Parliament, the NPP captured 171 seats and the NDC, 104 seats. Observers with the EU Election Observation Mission praised the elections as “competitive, transparent, [and] largely peaceful,” but reported problems with the registration of presidential candidates and with incumbents’ abuse of state resources during the campaign.

Georgia: In elections for the 150-seat parliament on October 8 and 30, the ruling Georgian Dream coalition captured 115 seats in two rounds of voting, an increase from 85 seats won in 2012. The United National Movement won 27 seats (down from 65 seats); the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, 6 seats; the Industry Will Save Georgia party, 1 seat; and an independent candidate, 1 seat. OSCE observers reported that the elections were “competitive” and “respected the rights of candidates and voters.”

Haiti: Following postponement of the October 9 election due to Hurricane Matthew, presidential elections were held on November 20. Jovenel Moïse of the Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK)—the handpicked candidate of former president Michel Martelly—won a decisive victory with 55.7 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff. Jude Célestin of the Alternative League for Haitian Progress and Empowerment (LAPEH) garnered 19.5 percent; former senator Jean-Charles Moïse of the Child of Dessalines Platform, 11 percent; and Marysse Narcisse of the Lavalas Family party, 9 percent. The rerun election was triggered by the Haitian provisional government’s invalidation of the 25 October 2015 election results due to allegations of fraud, despite international observers’ endorsement of the results. Observers with the Organization of American States (OAS) praised “substantial advances” that...


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