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  • Election Watch

(April–June 2018)

Azerbaijan: In the April 11 snap presidential election, incumbent Ilham Aliyev of the New Azerbaijan Party won 86 percent of the vote, securing a fourth term in office. Independent candidate Zahid Oruj won 3.1 percent, and Sardar Mammadov of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party, 3 percent. The elections, originally scheduled for October 17, were the first held after a 2016 constitutional referendum that lengthened presidential terms from five to seven years. Observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported that the elections lacked "genuine competition" and took place in the context of a "legal framework that curtails fundamental rights and freedoms."

Bhutan: Elections were held April 20 for 20 seats in Bhutan's upper house, the National Council (5 additional seats are appointed by the king). National Council candidates are barred from political-party membership. Turnout was reported as 54.3 percent.

Colombia: In the May 27 presidential election, none of the candidates met the 50 percent threshold needed to secure a first-round victory, setting up a second-round vote scheduled for June 17. Iván Duque of former president Álvaro Uribe's conservative Democratic Center party (CD) won 39.1 percent; former guerilla Gustavo Petro of the Humane Colombia movement won 25.1 percent; and Sergio Fajardo of the Colombia Coalition finished third with 23.7 percent. Results from the runoff will be reported in a future issue. Legislative elections were held March 11 for the bicameral Congress. In the 102-seat Senate, CD won 19 seats; Radical Change, 16; the Colombian Conservative Party (PC), 15; and the Colombian Liberal Party (PL), 14. Members of smaller parties split the remaining seats. In the 166-seat House of Representatives, PL won 35 seats; CD, 32; Radical Change, 30; and the Social Party [End Page 178] of National Unity, 25. Smaller parties split the remaining seats. The elections were the first held following the November 2016 peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Five seats in each house were reserved for members of the FARC's successor party, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.

Hungary: In April 8 elections for the 199-seat National Assembly, the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition of prime minister Viktor Orbán retained its two-thirds majority, winning 49.3 percent of the vote and 133 seats. The far-right Jobbik party won 19 percent and 26 seats; the Hungarian Socialist Party, 11.9 percent and 20 seats; the Democratic Coalition, 5.4 percent and 9 seats; and Politics Can Be Different, 7 percent and 8 seats. Two smaller parties and one independent candidate split the remaining three seats. OSCE observers expressed concern over the "xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing" that characterized the campaign.

Lebanon: Elections to the 128-seat Parliament, the first since 2009, were held May 6. The Amal-Hezbollah–led alliance of parties won 40 seats; the Free Patriotic Movement alliance, 29; the Future Movement alliance, 20; and the Lebanese Forces alliance, 15. Smaller parties split the remaining seats.

Malaysia: In May 9 elections for the 222-seat House of Representatives, the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition (led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad) won a stunning victory over the ruling National Front alliance (led by Prime Minister Najib Razak), securing 113 seats and 45.6 percent of the vote. The National Front won 79 seats and 34 percent, and the Gagasan Sejahtera coalition (led by Abdul Hadi Awang) won 18 seats and 17 percent. Mahathir, prime minister from 1981 to 2003, was sworn into office on May 10, ushering in the first transfer of power to an opposition party since independence in 1957.

Montenegro: In the April 15 presidential election, former president and prime minister Milo Djukanovi´c of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) won 53.9 percent of the vote, defeating independent candidate Mladen Bojanićc, who won 33.4 percent, and Draginja Vuksanovićc of the Social Democratic Party, who won 8.2 percent. Four other candidates won less than 3 percent each.

Paraguay: In the April 22 presidential election, Mario Abdo Benítez of incumbent Horacio Cartes's Colorado Party (ANR...