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  • Election Watch

(January–March 2018)

Chile: In the December 17 presidential runoff, former president Sebastián Piñera of the center-right Chile Vamos coalition won 54.6 percent of the vote, defeating opposition candidate Alejandro Guillier of the center-left New Majority coalition, who won 45.4 percent. In the November 19 first round, Piñera had won 36.6 percent; Guillier, backed by departing president Michelle Bachelet, 22.7 percent; and Beatriz Sánchez of the Broad Front coalition, 20.3 percent. Bachelet was constitutionally barred from seeking a third four-year term.

Colombia: Elections for the 102-seat Senate and 166-seat House of Representatives were held on March 11. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Costa Rica: In the February 4 presidential election, none of the thirteen candidates met the 40 percent threshold needed to secure a first-round victory, setting up a runoff scheduled for April 1 between Fabricio Alvarado of the conservative National Restoration Party (PRN), who won 24.9 percent of the vote, and Carlos Alvarado Quesada of the ruling Citizens’ Action Party (PAC), who won 21.6 percent. Antonio Alvarez Desanti of the center-left National Liberation Party (PLN) finished third with 18.6 percent. The runoff result will be reported in a future issue. In concurrent elections for the 57-seat Legislative Assembly, the PLN won 19.5 percent and 17 seats; the PRN, 18 percent and 14 seats; the PAC, 16 percent and 10 seats; and the Social Christian Unity Party, 14.6 percent and 9 seats. Three smaller parties split the remaining seats.

Czech Republic: In the presidential runoff held January 26–27, incumbent president Miloš Zeman of the Party of Civic Rights won 51.4 [End Page 180] percent of the vote, defeating Jiří Drahoš, who won 48.6 percent. In the January 12–13 first round, Zeman had earned 38.6 percent; Drahoš, 26.6 percent; and Pavel Fischer, 10.2 percent. Six other candidates split the remaining votes.

El Salvador: In March 4 elections for the 84-seat Legislative Assembly, the opposition Nationalist Republican Alliance led with 37 seats. President Salvador Sánchez Cerén’s Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front won 23 seats, down from 31; the Grand Alliance for National Unity, 11; and the National Coalition Party, 8. Two smaller parties and one independent candidate split the remaining seats.

Honduras: In the November 26 presidential election, incumbent president Juan Orlando Hernández won 42.9 percent, while opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla won 41.4 percent. Following widespread allegations of irregularities in the tabulation of the first-round vote, the Electoral Tribunal conducted a partial recount. On December 17, the Tribunal upheld Hernández’s victory, declaring the new results “extremely consistent” with the initial tally. Observers with the Organization of American States expressed concern over the Tribunal’s report and urged a full recount, citing the absence of “democratic quality and guarantees.” Protests and violence followed in the postelection period, with at least 23 people reported dead. On January 27, Hernández was sworn into office for a second four-year term.

Liberia: In the December 26 presidential runoff, George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change won 61.5 percent of the vote, defeating Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party, who won 38.5 percent. In the first-round vote on October 10, Weah had won 38.4 percent; Boakai, 28.8 percent; and Charles Brumskine, 9.6 percent. The second-round vote, originally scheduled for November 7, was postponed pending the Supreme Court’s resolution of a complaint brought by Brumskine alleging fraud in the first round. On December 7, the Court dismissed the petition, finding “insufficient evidence” of irregularities widespread enough to warrant a rerun, and on January 22, Weah took the oath of office. The election marked the first peaceful transfer of presidential power since 1944.

Nepal: Elections for the 275-seat House of Representatives were held on November 26 and December 7. The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) won 121 seats; the Nepali Congress, 63; the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center), 53; the Rastriya Janata Party, 17; and the Federal...