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International Elections and Leaders: July 2018 Update

Tayyip Erdogan reelected controversial president
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wins reelection as the president of Turkey. Erdoğan will assume the role of “Executive President” after a controversial 2017 constitutional referendum changed the office of the president to both head of state and head of government si

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 also provide monthly election coverage and track leadership changes in a series of updates called “International Elections and Leaders.”

International Elections

June proved to be a sparse month for both elections held and leader turnover. In Colombia, a run-off round between conservative candidate Ivan Duque Marquez and former guerilla Gustavo Petro took place on June 17th. Duque won the contest with 53 percent of the vote and will serve as president-elect until August 7th. Duque’s win comes during a turbulent time, as Colombia is involved in a major peace negotiation with the FARC rebel group. Duque, who has been vocally critical of the terms of the current peace process, may prove to complicate this process even further.

A snap parliamentary election was held on June 3rd in Slovenia following the resignation of prime minister Miro Cerar earlier in March. The opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), led by Janez Jansa, gained the largest share of seats after the incumbent Modern Centre Party lost twenty-six previously held seats. The SDS ran on a right-wing anti-immigrant platform, but may struggle to form a cohesive coalition government in the near term.

Finally, Turkey held their general election on June 24th after a snap election was called nearly a year earlier than scheduled. As expected, incumbent Recep Erdoğan won reelection with a comfortable 52 percent of the vote. Erdoğan’s victory comes at a time when the Turkish government is facing criticism for democratic backsliding. A controversial 2017 constitutional referendum increased the powers of the presidency to include both head of state and government.

New Leaders

In Italy, Giuseppe Conte was sworn in as prime minister of a populist coalition government between the Five Star Movement and the League. The two parties reached an agreement on May 31st following weeks of turmoil caused by the rejection of Conte’s first proposed government by President Sergio Mattarella. Conte was sworn in on June 1st. His government survived a confidence vote in parliament on June 6th which ended months of political uncertainty in Italy and throughout the Eurozone. The new coalition is known as the “government of change.”

In Pakistan, Nasir-ul-Mulk was sworn in as interim prime minister on June 1st as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government reached the end of their 5 year constitutional term limit. He is the country’s seventh caretaker prime minister and has a reputation for political neutrality. Elections are expected to take place on July 25th.


In Spain, King Felipe VI swore in a new prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, on June 2nd. His predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, was ousted by a vote of no-confidence following a corruption scandal. Sanchez now leads a Socialist government with a cabinet of mostly women. Spain joins only a handful of countries where women make up at least 50 percent of high-level ministers and cabinet members. As the head of a minority government, Sanchez is already facing criticism.

Events to Watch in July

Elections are set to pickup again in the month of July. In Africa, Zimbabweans will hold their first post Robert Mugabe presidential election on July 30th. On July 9th, South Sudan will conduct its first ever general election since the delay of 2015 elections following an alleged coup attempt. Mali will hold its presidential election on July 29th under the shadow of growing concerns of potential election violence.

In Asia, Pakistan will hold its general election on July 25th. In Cambodia, July 29th’s general election will be the first one held after the 2013 political crisis. It is expected to be won comfortably by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Finally, Mexico will hold its next general election on July 1st. It take place during a time of turbulent domestic politics and strained relations with the United States.

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