September election roundup


Last Thursday’s election in Jamaica (see my preview here) produced, not surprisingly, a very comfortable win for the incumbent Jamaica Labour Party government. In contrast to his narrow victory in 2016, centre-right prime minister Andrew Holness will now enjoy a 35-seat majority in the House of Representatives, winning 49 seats to the opposition’s 14.

As usual, the British-style electoral system exaggerates winning margins. In votes it looks quite a bit closer, although still decisive (official results here). The JLP had 57.0% of the vote (up 7.0%) to 42.8% for the centre-left People’s National Party (down 6.9%). Thirteen independent candidates managed just 0.2% between them.

Turnout was a meagre 37%, down almost a quarter; Covid-19 was presumably the main culprit, but it may also be a sign of discontent at the early election.


A change of government in Montenegro now seems assured, following the parliamentary election a week ago. President Milo Đukanović has conceded defeat and promised to commission the opposition to form a government. His own term, however, runs until 2023, so there is the potential there for a tense relationship.

By far the largest part of the opposition is right-wing and pro-Serbian, but it depends for its majority [link added] on progressive and pro-western elements. They have promised to appoint a technocratic government, and while that may work for a while it seems unlikely to be a long-term solution. More probably there will be an early election at some point – which, with the removal of Đukanović’s control of the media and other institutions, may be a very different affair.

North Macedonia

Still in the Balkans, North Macedonia has a new government following its July election, although it looks a lot like the old one (see earlier report here). The incumbent Social Democrats (centre-left) topped the poll with 35.9% of the vote, narrowly edging out their centre-right opposition, and party leader Zoran Zaev has returned as prime minister, a post he resigned from in January.

To reach a majority, Zaev has re-formed his coalition with the Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) and also taken in the small Democratic Party of Albanians. Both parties cater to the country’s large Albanian minority, which significantly improved its representation at the election; they will give the new government a four-seat majority, 62-58.

The coalition deal includes a promise that Zaev will stand aside for an ethnic Albanian prime minister (the country’s first) in the runup to the next election, due in 2024. But a lot could happen in the region before then.

Northern Territory

Results from the Northern Territory election, held on 22 August, are also final. The opposition Country Liberal Party snatched the last seat, Barkly, by just five votes, but the other close seats went as expected: Labor by 13 votes in Blain, the CLP by 22 votes in Namatjira and the Territory Alliance by 42 votes in Araluen. (They might all sound unusually close, but remember the seats are very small.)

So Labor chief minister Michael Gunner wins a second term with a three seat majority: 14 seats, against eight CLP, one Territory Alliance and two independents. In the circumstances it was a pretty good comeback for the CLP, which had been reduced to just two seats after the 2016 election.

Kevin Bonham has the most comprehensive analysis. He estimates Labor’s two-party-preferred vote at 54.1%, down 3.1% from last time. That’s not a great result for an incumbent in a time of crisis, but a win is a win.

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