After the long Covid-19 hiatus, electoral activity is picking up. Here’s a very brief rundown on what’s happened in the last week.
The victory of opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera in Malawi’s presidential election, held last Tuesday, is now official. The electoral commission reports him winning with 59.3%, a lead of more than 850,000 votes over incumbent Peter Mutharika, with 39.9%.
Despite a rather tumultuous couple of years in Mongolian politics, Wednesday’s parliamentary election produced very much a status quo result. The governing Mongolian People’s Party (centre-left) won comfortably with 44.9% of the vote, down just 1% from 2016, and took 62 of the 76 seats (down three).
The main opposition party, the Democratic Party (centre-right), won 11 seats, a gain of two despite a sharp drop in its vote, from 33.7% to 24.5%. The leftish ticket led by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party was unchanged with 8.1% and one seat.
The extra votes went to new parties and independents, but it didn’t do them much good in terms of seats. The New Coalition won 5.3% but no seats, the Right Person Electoral Coalition had 5.2% and one seat, and the single independent retained his seat. (Full results are here, but I can’t find a table of vote totals so I’m using the one from Wikipedia.)
No such drama in Iceland, where president Guðni Jóhannesson has been re-elected in the expected landslide, reportedly winning 92.2% of the vote against 7.8% for his sole challenger, Guðmundur Franklín Jónsson.
Turnout was 66.9%, down almost nine points on 2016 but still remarkably good for an election with so little suspense.
Poland voted yesterday in the delayed first round of its presidential election. The exit polls shows, as expected, incumbent Andrzej Duda – backed by the ruling far-right Law & Justice party – leading the field with 41.8%, followed by centrist challenger Rafał Trzaskowski on 30.4%. They will contest the runoff in two weeks time.
TV personality Szymon Hołownia, who had attracted much of the western media attention, was running third with 13.3%, followed by right-wing populist Krzysztof Bosak on 7.4%. Six also-rans collected the remaining 7% between them.
Assuming it’s backed up by actual counting, the result is very much in line with what the opinion polls have been saying. If anything it’s slightly better for Trzaskowski: Politico’s latest polling average had Duda leading 43%-29%. Since those polls also showed the second round to be a dead heat, this one remains wide open.
France also voted yesterday, in the second round of municipal elections. It’ll take a while to fully digest the results (if you can navigate a bit in French, Le Monde has comprehensive coverage), but on the surface it seems there’s something for everyone. This post from 2014 explains the electoral system.
The Socialist Party, despite its abysmal position in national polls, has retained control of several major cities, including a comfortable win for Anne Hidalgo as mayor of Paris. But the Greens are challenging for primacy on the centre-left, with wins in Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Grenoble and Poitiers. Martine Aubry, former Socialist Party secretary, held off a Green challenger in Lille by just 227 votes.
The centre-right Republicans also scored some notable wins, but in general seem to have gone backwards, losing Marseille to a left-wing coalition and losing Perpignan to the far-right National Rally – its first victory in a big city. There’s no sign of a big swing to the far left, but Trotskyist Philippe Poutou won 9.4% of the vote in Bordeaux to win a council seat for the first time.
President Macron’s party, Republic on the Move, performed poorly overall, but prime minister Édouard Philippe was successful in Le Havre, giving him a fallback job if Macron decides he needs a new front person. The important thing for the president, however, is that his opponents remain divided between left and right as well as within each camp.