Middle East and North Africa

Articles about voting issues in the Middle East and North Africa.

Armenia: Premier’s bloc winning vote, early returns show | Associated Press

Early returns from Armenia’s snap parliamentary election Sunday show the country’s new prime minister’s bloc with a commanding lead — an outcome that would help further consolidate his power. The charismatic 43-year-old Nikol Pashinian took office in May after spearheading massive protests that forced his predecessor to step down. Pashinian has pushed for early vote to win control of a parliament that was dominated by his political foes. An ex-journalist turned politician, Pashinian has won broad popularity, tapping into public anger over widespread poverty, high unemployment and rampant corruption in the landlocked former Soviet nation of 3 million that borders Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran. Read More

Armenia: Reformist PM Nikol Pashinian wins convincing victory | The Guardian

Armenia’s acting prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has bolstered his authority after his political bloc won early parliamentary elections in the former Soviet country, the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) results showed. My Step Alliance, which includes Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party, won 70.4% of the vote on Sunday based on results from all polling stations, the CEC said on its website. Results showed that two moderate opposition parties – Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia – got enough votes to clear the 5% threshold to enter parliament. Read More

Afghanistan: Election Dispute Brews as U.S. Pushes for Peace Talks | The New York Times

An election complaints agency on Thursday invalidated all of the votes cast in Kabul Province in October’s parliamentary election, more than a million in all, over fraud allegations, pushing the country toward another political crisis just as a top American diplomat arrived to build momentum for peace talks with the Taliban. The ruling set up a stalemate with the agency administering the vote, the Independent Election Commission. The commission said it would ignore the decision invalidating the votes — which would ordinarily require a new election within seven days — and would certify the results of Kabul’s vote in the coming days. It was unclear how the dispute would be resolved. The complaints agency did not describe the fraud accusations in detail, but it called for the firing of several Independent Election Commission staff members. Read More

Libya: Election commission says has zero budget to prepare polls | Reuters

Libya’s electoral commission has asked the government for $28.7 million, saying that without funding to boost its “zero” budget it cannot make plans to prepare for a vote on a new constitution and later elections. Western powers and the United Nations hope Libya will hold a national election by June after a referendum on a constitutional framework to chart a way out of a conflict stemming from the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. A French plan, backed by the United Nations, had initially called for a presidential and parliamentary vote on Dec 10. But weeks of fighting in the capital Tripoli between competing groups and almost no progress between the North African country’s two rival parliaments made that impossible. Read More

Bahrain: Record number of Bahraini women elected to parliament | Al Jazeera

A record number of women have been elected in Bahrain’s elections in what officials say is an historic achievement that has broken the glass ceiling of representation in the country’s parliament. By the election’s second and final round of voting on Sunday, a total of six women were voted in, doubling the number of female legislators in the tiny Gulf kingdom. “The 2018 elections are historic for Bahrain,” Mohammed al-Sayed, spokesperson for Citizens for Bahrain organisation, told Al Arabiya English news channel. “We will certainly have more women in parliament, and this is a source of pride for all Bahrainis as we believe in equality and the important role played by Bahraini women in society and politics,” he continued. Read More

Bahrain: Elections go to runoffs | Ahram Online

Bahraini authorities announced the results of last week’s parliamentary and local council elections, despite calls by the opposition to boycott and government insistence there was high voter turnout.
Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs, Religious Endowments and Chairman of the National Elections Committee (NEC) Khaled bin Ali Al-Khalifa announced the election results on Monday, the fifth round of elections since constitutional reform in 2002. Al-Khalifa told a news conference that voter turnout reached 70 per cent, which is close to local and international media reports quoting Bahraini officials indicating 67 per cent turnout. Read More

Afghanistan: Election to be held on time | AFP

Afghanistan s election organisers vowed Tuesday to hold April s presidential poll on time, after fears it could be delayed as they struggle to compile results of the recent legislative vote amid thousands of complaints. The remarks come as the United States, in a bid to end the 17-year war, spearheads international efforts to engage the Taliban in peace talks that some had feared could be derailed by the April 20 presidential election, which is expected to fiercely contested. On Monday, spokesmen for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) told reporters they were looking at pushing the ballot back to July 13. IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad said “economic, security and weather situations are forcing us to make some changes to the timeline”. But on Tuesday, officials decided not to delay, releasing a statement on the IEC Facebook page saying the vote would be held April 20 “on the demand of the people and parties”. Read More

Afghanistan: Election Officials Consider Delaying Presidential Election | The New York Times

Election officials in Afghanistan are considering delaying next year’s presidential election by several months, amid disarray in counting votes from last month’s parliamentary balloting. Holding presidential elections by April 20 was previously one of international donors’ red lines in Afghanistan, especially after an embarrassing four-year delay in holding parliamentary elections. Now, however, some politicians and observers are suggesting that the electoral fiasco might help encourage peace talks with the Taliban, who are unlikely to agree to a deal if a new president is about to be elected for a five-year term. Three officials at the Independent Elections Commission confirmed on Sunday that discussions were underway on a potential delay for the presidential vote, but they insisted no decision had been made. Read More

Bahrain: Counting under way as polls close in Bahrain elections | Al Jazeera

Counting is under way in Bahrain after polls have closed in Saturday’s parliamentary election from which opposition groups were barred in a crackdown on dissent in the Western-allied kingdom. More than 350,000 Bahrainis were eligible to vote, according to Justice Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, adding that there were 54 polling stations across the country. According to Bahraini state television, turnout for the election was 67 percent, the Reuters news agency reported. In advance of the vote, however, activists and members of the banned opposition parties called for a boycott of what they describe as “farce” elections, raising doubts about the credibility of the polls. The government says the elections are democratic. Read More

Bahrain: No Free Elections in Current Environment | Human Rights Watch

The upcoming parliamentary elections in Bahrain, scheduled for November 24, 2018, are occurring in a repressive political environment that is not conducive to free elections, Human Rights Watch said today. Bahrain’s allies should encourage the Bahraini government to take all the necessary steps to reform laws undermining freedom of expression and assembly and to release detained opposition figures. In the latest instance of the crackdown on peaceful dissent, on November 13, 2018, a former member of parliament, Ali Rashed al-Sheeri, was detained after he tweeted about boycotting the elections. On November 4, the Bahrain High Court of Appeals overturned the previous acquittal of a prominent opposition member, Sheikh Ali Salman, sentencing him to life in prison on charges of spying for Qatar. Salman is the leader of Bahrain’s largest political opposition group, al-Wefaq, which was outlawed in 2016. Read More