International Elections and Leaders: October 2017 Update

While Angela Merkel won a fourth term in Germany, her CDU/CSU party lost a number of seats to the far-right Alternative for Germany party, above. Photo credit: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images.

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

Elections in September favored incumbent candidates around the world. In Germany, Norway, and New Zealand, parliamentary elections were won by parties previously in power. In Germany, Angela Merkel won a fourth term with her Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)/ Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) alliance. Erna Solberg’s conservatives won in Norway and Bill English’s center-right party took the vote in New Zealand. However, in all three countries the incumbents will need to build coalitions with smaller partners in order to govern.

Two snap and three regular elections will take place in October. Iceland will go to the polls for a second time in a little over a year to elect a new parliament. The most recent government collapsed in September. Kenya will hold an election re-run after the Supreme Court annulled the results of the August presidential vote. Liberia, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Czech Republic will be going to the polls as well.

International Elections

Angela Merkel won a fourth term in a parliamentary election in Germany. Her CDU/CSU party won 32% of the vote. Social Democrats came in second with 20%. Despite winning the election, CDU/CSU lost a significant number of seats. Many of them went to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which will become the first far right party in the German Bundestag in six decades.

A parliamentary election in Norway also led to a win of an incumbent candidate. Conservatives headed by Erna Solberg won the majority of votes. Their coalition with center-right allies is expected to yield 89 seats in a 169-seat parliament. This will be a second term for Solberg after she won the previous election in 2013. The Labour Party was in power for eight years prior to the 2013 vote.

In New Zealand, Prime Minister Bill English and his center-right National Party took 46% of the vote. The Labour Party received 36%. Neither of the parties won a majority and will need to secure the support of smaller partners to form a coalition government. The final vote count will be released on October 7.

New Leaders

After months of coalition-building, a new Prime Minister has been chosen in Kosovo. Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party, became prime minister on September 9. His PAN coalition won over 30% of the vote in an early election in June.

Events to Watch in October

A re-run of the presidential election will take place in Kenya on October 17. The new election will take place following a decision of the Supreme Court to annul the results of the presidential election held in August. President Uhuru Kenyatta will once again run against a long-standing opposition rival Raila Odiga, who successfully challenged the results of the election in court.

A snap election will be held in Iceland on October 28 due to the collapse of its government. On September 18 a three-party coalition government was dissolved after just eight months in power. The coalition was put together after months of talks following a snap election in October 2016 and had only a one-seat majority in parliament. If the past is any indication, observers can expect a lengthy negotiation period following the election and an unstable government unless any party wins an outright majority.

Three more elections will take place in Liberia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Czech Republic. In Liberia, the public will elect a president on October 10. A presidential election will also be held on October 15 in Kyrgyzstan. Incumbents are not eligible to run in either of the elections due to constitutional constraints on the number of presidential terms. A parliamentary election will be held in the Czech Republic on October 20 and 21.

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