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International Elections and Leaders: July 2017 Update

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party will now pose a significant challenge to the Brexit agenda in the U.K. Photo: Sophie Brown

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.”

June 2017 was all about snap elections around the world. Early voting took place in Lesotho, Kosovo, the United Kingdom, and Malta. In Lesotho and Kosovo early elections happened as a result of no-confidence votes in parliament against current prime ministers. Opposition won in both countries. In the United Kingdom and Malta snap elections were called by the standing prime ministers themselves. But, while in Malta an early election strengthened the incumbent with 55% of the votes for his labor party, in the United Kingdom the election resulted in a hung parliament. 

One another note, two first openly gay world leaders took office in June. Leo Varadkar took over the prime minister post in Ireland after his predecessor resigned. In Serbia Ana Brnabic became the first openly gay woman to be elected prime minister.

International Elections

An early parliamentary election was held in Lesotho on June 3. The election followed a successful no confidence vote against Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. Tom Thabane and his All Basotho Convention party secured more than 40% of the votes and formed a majority coalition. This is Thabane’s second term as prime minister.

A snap election was also held in Malta on June 3. Incumbent Prime Minister Joseph Muscat remained in power. He had called an early election amid allegations of corruption. The vote of confidence from the population will allow the prime minister to push through legislation that has been on hold due to corruption allegations.

Another snap election took place in the United Kingdom. Incumbent Conservatives led by Prime Minister Theresa May lost their majority in parliament. The party subsequently formed a minority government with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists. The Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn came in close second with 40% of votes and will present a significant challenge to May’s Brexit agenda.

A snap election was held in Kosovo on June 11. The election was triggered by a no confidence vote against Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in May 2017. A nationalist Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) coalition won 34% of the votes, another nationalist party, Vetëvendosje, won 27%. Coalition-building over the next month is expected to yield a new prime minister.

In Albania, the ruling Socialist Party won a majority in a parliamentary election. The election strengthened the government’s mandate to begin EU accession talks. The party won just over a half of seats in parliament, meaning that it does not need a coalition to govern. Prime Minister Edi Rama will remain in his seat.

Lebanon failed to meet an election deadline of June 2017 to hold a parliamentary election. This is the third time the country did not meet an election deadline since 2013.  The election was rescheduled again, this time for May 2018. Experts suggest the election might actually happen next year, as the parliament finally passed an election law in June. 

New Leaders

In Nepal, Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected prime minister by parliament on June 7 after Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigned from his post. Parliamentary elections are due in the country by January 2018, so Sher Bahadur Deuba is likely to be in power only for a few months. He is the country’s 10th prime minister in 11 years and has held the post three times before.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny resigned on June 14. He was replaced as leader of the party and prime minster by Leo Varadkar in a parliamentary vote. Varadkar is the first openly gay prime minister of Ireland.

Serbia’s first openly gay female prime minister, Ana Brnabic, was elected by parliament on June 29. She was nominated by the current president, Aleksandr Vucic. Critics have suggested her appointment is not a true sign of growing inclusivity in a Balkan nation. Rather, critics suggest that the president is trying to assuage the EU as Serbia negotiates to join the union. Others also pointed out that by nominating a non-experienced official who never held elected office, the president is looking to increase his power in a largely ceremonial presidential position.

Events to Watch in July

In Mongolia, the presidential election held on June 26 did not yield a decisive victory for either of the candidates. A nationalist candidate from the opposition Democratic Party Khaltmaa Battulga won the most votes, but did not secure a majority. A candidate from the ruling Mongolian People's Party, Miyeegombo Enkhbold came in second. A run-off is scheduled for July 9. The country’s relationship with China and its recovery from an economic crisis associated with the commodity bust are key topics in the election.

In Papua New Guinea, a two week-long election will be completed on July 8. Voting started on June 24 and will continue as voters and the electoral commission travel to collect votes in remote parts of the country. Election results are due by July 24.

Corrections

We added a birth year for the incumbent President Mamau of Kiribati. We also coded the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, who has been in power since a snap election in September 2016.

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