- Election Watch
Algeria: June 12 elections for the 407-seat lower house of Parliament saw the National Liberation Front remain the largest party with 105 seats, far short of a majority. The Islamist Movement of Society for Peace won 64 seats; the National Democratic Rally claimed 57 seats; and a surprising 78 seats went to independents. The remaining 103 seats went to smaller parties. The leaderless Hirak (movement), which the police targeted in the run-up to the polls, boycotted the race. Turnout, at 30.2 percent, was the lowest of any legislative election in at least twenty years.
Benin: In a controversial election held on April 11, President Patrice Talon—an independent—won a second term with 86.3 percent of the vote. Only two contenders of nineteen were permitted to run against Talon: Alassane Soumanou of the Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin and Corentin Kohoue of the Democrats, who received 11.4 and 2.3 percent of the vote, respectively. Former minister and head of the Democrats Reckya Madougou had declared her intention to run but was blocked from doing so. She was later detained on dubious charges. Other opposition parties boycotted the balloting. While the high court claimed that no election irregularity warranted throwing out the results, a nationwide association of civil society groups reported that attempts to compromise the vote were visible throughout Benin on election day. Troops killed two and wounded five during opposition protests, and media critical of the government have been shut down in the past two years. Turnout was 50.6 percent.
Bulgaria: Snap parliamentary elections will be held on July 11 because no government was formed after the April 4 balloting; results of the July contest will be reported in a future issue. [End Page 184]
Cape Verde: In April 18 elections for the 72-seat National Assembly, the incumbent Movement for Democracy party, led by Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, won 48.8 percent of the vote and 38 seats—a bare majority. The African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde won 38.6 percent and 30 seats, while the Cape Verdean Independent and Democratic Union captured 8.8 percent and received the remaining 4 seats. Turnout was 57.5 percent.
Chad: Longtime president Idriss Déby of the Patriotic Salvation Movement won a sixth term in the April 11 election but died in battle against armed groups on April 20. In violation of the constitutional succession, his son, General Mahamat Déby seized control and declared himself president of the Transitional Military Council, which is slated to last until October 2022. In the presidential race, the elder Déby won 79.3 percent of the vote. The younger Déby appointed another candidate, Albert Pahimi Padacké of the National Rally for Democracy in Chad, who won 10.3 percent, as prime minister. Padacké had previously occupied that role from 2016 to 2018. The main opposition parties boycotted the race.
Congo-Brazzaville: In the March 21 presidential race, Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Congolese Labor Party, who has been in office since 1997, claimed a fourth term with 88.4 percent of the vote. Congolese Movement for Democracy candidate Guy Brice Parfait Kolélas, who died March 22 due to covid-19, won 8 percent. Other presidential rivals alleged fraud and the main opposition party, the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy, boycotted the polls. Access to the internet and social media was cut from election day to the announcement of the results three days later. Official turnout was 67 percent, but local civil society groups reported that polling places nationwide seemed "empty" compared to the 2016 race.
Djibouti: In the April 9 presidential election, Ismail Omar Guelleh won a fifth term in office with 97.3 percent of the vote. Political newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah, who was the only other candidate whom the government permitted to stand in the race, won 2.5 percent. Most of the opposition boycotted the election. Turnout was 76.4 percent.
Ethiopia: Elections for the 547-seat federal parliament are scheduled to be held on June 21. The elections have been delayed since August 2020, ostensibly...