Election news from around the world

Time to update developments on a few election stories.


Results are now final from the Serbian parliamentary election held on 16 March. You can find them at the Serbian Electoral Commission’s website, including a nice set of maps showing the strength of vote for each party by province. Unfortunately they’re all in Serbo-Croat, and in Cyrillic script to boot. (The government is about the only organisation in Serbia that uses Cyrillic; the independent election monitor, CeSID, has it in Latin script, but its figures are slightly out of date.)

Anyway, there’s no significant change from the preliminary results I reported last week. The incumbent Serbian Progressive Party and its allies scored a landslide win, with 48.4% of the vote and 158 of the 250 seats. A distant second was the ticket led by its outgoing coalition partner, the Socialist Party of Serbia, with 13.5% and 44 seats.

The opposition Democratic Party won 6.0% and 19 seats, just ahead of the New Democratic Party (incorporating the Greens) and its allies with 5.7% and 18 seats. The remaining 11 seats were split among three ethnic parties (Hungarian, Bosnian and Albanian), which are not subject to the 5% threshold.

Progressive Party leader Aleksandar Vučić, who will be the new prime minister, has promised to hold talks with all parties with a view to forming a broad coalition. The new government is expected to be in place by 24 April.


Slovaks vote tomorrow in the second round of their presidential election, pitting incumbent prime minister Robert Fico, of the centre-left Smer party, against independent Andrej Kiska. Fico led in the first round with 28% to Kiska’s 24%, but Kiska should draw more support from those who voted for unsuccessful centre-right candidates, suggesting he may have the edge in the runoff.

Bloomberg has a good preview of the race, which includes the suggestion that “Fico wants to remake the ceremonial post of president into [Slovakia’s] central political position.” Further ammunition for the view that Malcolm Turnbull was right all along about directly elected presidents.

Results should be available towards the middle of Sunday, Australian time – try at this site.

El Salvador

El Salvador’s presidential election is now over, with opposition candidate Norman Quijano conceding defeat yesterday after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the result and confirmed the left’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén as the winner, albeit by a narrow margin.

Quijano’s right-wing Arena party said it accepted the court’s decision, and did so with a good grace that isn’t always found in the region: “We will be watching the government and making sure it respects the law. But we will be the first ones to applaud their achievements.”

A close loss is always frustrating, but given the substantial lead that Sánchez Cerén had held in the opinion polls, Arena has every reason to be pleased with its performance. It’s further evidence of a modest swing back to the right in Latin America. We’ll see if it holds for Costa Rica’s runoff on 6 April.


The Maldives duly held their legislative election last Saturday (a week later than indicated in my preview), despite the prior removal of the heads of the Electoral Commission. As expected, the party of recently-elected president Abdulla Yameen, the Progressive Party of Maldives, has won a clear victory.

Former president Mohammad Nasheed, who leads the Maldivian Democratic Party, conceded defeat, but seemed all too conscious of the fact that the country’s establishment had conspired to ruin his chances.

On what appear to be final results, the PPM finished with 33 seats to the MDP’s 26. I haven’t aggregated the votes myself, but if Wikipedia is right they scored 38.8% and 30.9% respectively. Two smaller allies of the PPM, the Jumhooree Party and the Maldives Development Alliance, won another 20 seats between them, providing it with a substantial majority in the expanded 85-seat parliament.


Algeria is scheduled to vote in three weeks time, on 17 April, when president Abdelaziz Bouteflika will be seeking a fourth term in office, despite being aged 77 and having suffered a stroke last year. His decision to run again has been controversial, with opposition rallies denouncing his regime.

Al-Jazeera has profiles of the five opposition candidates – former prime minister Ali Benflis is apparently the main challenger – but the chance of any of them being allowed to beat Bouteflika is regarded as negligible. Opposition leaders have called for a boycott of the poll, but the opposition is hemmed in by repressive laws and chronically divided between secularists and Islamists.

If there is any life left in the Arab Spring, Bouteflika is taking a serious risk in defying public opinion. One to watch in the coming weeks.


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