International Elections and Leaders: November 2018 Update

Jair Bolsonaro, president-elect of Brazil, likely brings a major shift in the political landscape of the country. Opposition parties remain anxious about Bolsonaro’s strong-handed rhetoric and the potential for democratic backsliding.

The  (REIGN Dataset) (Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance) covers political conditions in every country each and every month. We update the data set 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

In Europe, four national elections took place. Latvia held a parliamentary election on October 6th. The Harmony party, relative newcomers to Latvian politics, captured 23 percent of the vote and retained its position as the largest single party in parliament. Harmony has been accused of  having a pro-Kremlin agenda as it represents much of Latvia’s Russian speaking minority. Coalition talks are expected to take time, and it is unlikely that Latvia’s other parties will seek to include Harmony in any new government talks. Bosnia and Herzegovina held their parliamentary and presidential elections on October 7th. The Balkan state is ruled by a tripartite presidency that elects executives representing the three largest ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs, with newcomers winning in each of their respective ethnic contests. The election has been controversial, with activities ranging from corruption, contentious displays of ethnic nationalism, and allegations of interference in the Croat election by the government of Croatia.

Luxembourg held their general election on October 14th, with the Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) winning the most seats. The ruling coalition led by current prime minister Xavier Bettel retained enough seats to form a new government and is expected to retain its position. Regardless, Bettel’s decreasing popularity from within and outside his Democratic Party (DP) has the small potential to shake up talks of reforming the ruling coalition and will likely make governing more difficult going forward. Finally, Georgia held the first round of their presidential election on October 28th, with the run-off round set to take place on December 2nd. Due to changes in the constitution of Georgia, this will be the last direct election for a president and the winner will take over what will become largely a ceremonial role as executive power transfers to the parliament and prime minister following the election.

In Africa, Cameroon held a presidential election on October 7th. Incumbent Paul Biya won reelection after receiving 71 percent of the vote. Biya has now won his seventh term as president following a controversial 2008 amendment to the country’s constitution that removed term limits. Allegations of corruption and wide-spread arrests of opposition protesters have marred Cameroon post-election.

In Asia, Bhutan held the second round of its national assembly election on October 18th. Newcomer party, the Social Democrat Party (DNT), won 30 of 47 seats in the national assembly and represents a shift to the left for politics in Bhutan. The former ruling party, the center-right Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party, was left out of representation altogether after failing to advance past the first round of voting.

In South America, Brazil held the second round of their presidential election on October 28th. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro defeated Fernando Haddad of the traditionally ruling Worker’s Party (PT) in a contentious election contest. Bolsonaro’s presidency faces a series of controversies about his personal views and statements, often in support of the sanctioned killings of criminal elements and the political repression of leftist political ideology and LGBT individuals.

New Leaders

Only one leader change took place in October, with the annual change in the Captains Regent in San Marino. Elected by the country’s Grand and General Council every six months, Mirko Tomassoni and Luca Santolini began their six-month term on October 1st and will govern the micro republic until April 2019.

Events to Watch in November

November will have two national elections to keep an eye on. Fiji has officially announced November 14th as the data for their next parliamentary election, only the second in the last 12 years.

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