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  • Election Watch

(December 2018–March 2019)

Bangladesh: In December 31 elections for the 300 directly elected seats of Parliament, incumbent prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed's Awami League (AL) won 257 seats. The Jatiya Party (JP), AL's coalition partner, won 22 seats, and smaller coalition partners of AL won 9 seats, with AL's coalition receiving 288 seats in total. The AL's main political rival, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and its coalition partner won only 8 seats, and the remaining seats were won by independents. The BNP did not boycott the elections, as it did in 2014, but Human Rights Watch and other observers have noted that it was severely limited in its ability to campaign by recent government crackdowns on dissent and freedom of speech and by the imprisonment of its leader, former prime minister Khaleda Zia, in February 2018. There were also reports of possible vote tampering. The BNP rejected the results and called for a new election.

Comoros: The presidential election was scheduled for March 24; results will be reported in a future issue.

Democratic Republic of Congo: In the December 30 election for president, Félix Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) was elected with 39 percent of the vote, according to the election commission. Martin Fayulu of the Dynamic of Congolese Political Opposition received 35 percent of the vote, and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary of the ruling People's Party for Reconciliation and Development (PPRD), whom President Joseph Kabila endorsed as his successor, received 24 percent. Concurrent elections were held for the 500-seat National Assembly. The PPRD's coalition won 337 seats in total, and the coalition of Tshisekedi's UDPS won 46 seats. The opposition Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) won 22 seats, and its coalition won 46 seats. Smaller parties won the remaining 23 seats. Fayulu [End Page 178] rejected the election results, and the Catholic Church and other election observers concluded that Fayulu had been the winner. Nonetheless, Tshisekedi was sworn in on January 24.

El Salvador: In the presidential election on February 3, Nayib Bukele of the Grand Alliance for National Unity was elected with 53 percent of the vote. Bukele is the first president since 1989 who is not a member of either of the two major parties, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). Carlos Calleja of ARENA won 32 percent and Hugo Martínez of FMLN won 14 percent.

Estonia: In March 3 elections for the 101-seat parliament, the pro-Western Estonian Reform Party (RE) led by Kaja Kallas won 34 seats, the pro-Russian Center Party (EK) of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas 26, the Conservative People's Party (VKRE) 19, Pro Patria 12, and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) 10. A new government had not yet been formed.

Guinea-Bissau: In March 10 elections for the 102-seat National People's Assembly, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) of President José Mário Vaz won 47 seats. The opposition party Madem G-15 won 27 seats, the Party for Social Renewal won 21 seats, and smaller parties won the remaining 7 seats. PAIGC is expected to form a coalition with several smaller parties to gain an absolute majority of 54 seats. Elections were originally scheduled for November 2018 as part of a solution brokered by the Economic Community of West African States to a deadlock in the National Popular Assembly resulting from diagreements between Vaz and seven successive prime ministers. The vote was rescheduled several times because of technical difficulties and allegations of fraud.

Madagascar: In a December 19 runoff presidential election between former president Andry Rajoelina and former president Marc Ravalomanana, Rajoelina won with 56 percent of the vote. Ravalomanana rejected the result, alleging fraud. The European Union Observer Mission called the poll peaceful and transparent, while noting some "minor" irregularities, including ballot stuffing.

Moldova: In February 24 elections for the 101-seat Parliament, the pro-Russian Socialist Party (PSRM) won 35 seats, defeating the pro-European coalition formed by the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) and the Dignity and...