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International Elections and Leaders: February 2018 Update

From the Ballon d’Or to the presidency. George Weah’s inauguration as president of Liberia marks the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in nearly 70 years for the West African nation. Left: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

The REIGN Dataset (Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance) covers political conditions in every country, each and every month. We update the dataset monthly to reflect the most recent political events, such as coups, world elections, and changes in political leadership. We provide monthly election coverage and track leadership changes in a series of updates called “International Elections and Leaders.”

The beginning of 2018 has been relatively quiet in terms of electoral developments, with only Cyprus holding a contest for chief executive. Likewise, both Finland and the Czech Republic held presidential elections. Here’s a summary of global elections and leadership changes in January 2018.

International Elections

Cyprus held a presidential election on the 28th of January, with no candidate receiving a majority vote. A runoff round is scheduled for February 4th that will pit incumbent Nicos Anastasiades against relative political newcomer Stavros Malas in a contest between conservatives and leftist political reformers.

New Leaders

On January 22nd, George Weah was inaugurated as president of Liberia in the nation’s first peaceful democratic transition of power in nearly 70 years. Weah’s inauguration continues a trend of African soccer stars who seek to bring peace and development to their respective nations.

Events to Watch in February

Against the backdrop of opposition protests, incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández was sworn in as president of Honduras for a second term. While Hernández and his party will seek to bring stability to electoral politics, mediation between the president and the opposition will be ongoing via the Organization of American States (OAS). In Nepal, the transition of power between the incumbent government and the winning leftist coalition has been delayed due to political deadlock on rules for electing members of Nepal’s upper house. This has left many supporters of the winning coalition deeply frustrated, and it will be important to keep an eye on how this transition develops over the next month.

In terms of elections, February looks to be a more active month than January. Costa Rica will hold presidential elections on February 4th. With no incumbent candidates, the Costa Rican presidency will be contested by eight individuals and could mark a political shift depending on the winner of this contest. Grenada will hold its nomination day on the 20th of February in preparation for March elections. Barbados is scheduled to have elections by May 2018 but has yet to set either a nomination or polling date. Egypt has scheduled presidential elections to take place in late March, but controversy surrounding the nomination process makes Egypt an important country to keep an eye on in the lead-up to the elections. Finally, Cyprus will conclude its runoff round for its presidential election in a contest that could fundamentally reshape its domestic politics.

Interested in more election coverage? Visit the REIGN Dataset page, or read the most recent updates on international elections and leaders.