A leading political party in Haiti announced on Tuesday that it was pulling out of next month’s legislative elections, saying it was the primary victim of violence during the first round of voting in August. It was not immediately clear whether the pullout would disrupt the second-round runoff on Oct. 25, when Haitians are also due to cast ballots for a new president. But the move was seen as another setback for stability in the impoverished Caribbean country, long rocked by political turmoil. The Vérité (Truth) Party, which announced its boycott of the upcoming poll, is widely seen as a leading political threat to President Michel Martelly’s Haitian Tet Kale (Bald Headed) Party, which takes its name from Martelly’s trademark shaved scalp.
After a nearly four years of delays, legislative elections will take place Sunday in Haiti, but voters hardly seem to care. Portraits of candidates and posters in their parties` colors have finally invaded the public space. But, in front of an electrical pole plastered with photos of various candidates for Haiti`s Senate and Chamber of Deputies, Luckson is completely indifferent. “Him I know, but he won`t do anything for me. Her, I`ve never seen her face before,” the shoeshiner says while surveying the posters that now adorn his corner. For a brief moment, the nearby vendors and their clients discuss the candidates and argue about the backgrounds of these would-be parliamentarians. They all agree on one point: they will not vote Sunday “because there`s no point.”
Political parties in El Salvador formally wrapped up their campaigns Wednesday ahead of local and legislative elections schedule for March 1, 2015. The close of the campaign period gives three days for the population to decide their vote without the influence of the publicity campaigns of the parties. Electors in Latin America’s smallest country will head to the polls to elect mayors as well as representatives to the country’s Legislative Assembly.
Ukraine on Sunday will hold its first legislative elections since clashes erupted last April between government forces and pro-Russia separatists, who will boycott the vote in the eastern provinces they hold. Kiev has said the boycott in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk will not affect the legitimacy of the process. Before the conflict started, around 6.5 million people lived in the region, around 15 percent of the total population. An estimated one million people have fled the area and sought refuge in neighboring Russia or other Ukrainian regions because of the fighting. “Here, there will be no elections,” said Andrei Purguin, deputy Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Donetsk and Lugansk are scheduled to choose their own parliaments and leaders in a separate election scheduled for November 2. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stressed the importance of full transparency in the October 26 elections in areas controlled by Kiev in the two rebel regions.
Mauritania’s ruling party is leading in local and legislative elections while a once-outlawed Islamist party looked poised to become the main opposition, preliminary results showed on Tuesday. The legislative vote, which was boycotted by 10 other parties, are the first since an army putsch catapulted Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to power in 2008. Abdel Aziz won a presidential election in 2009 and is now a Western ally in fighting al Qaeda in the poor and frequently unstable Sahel region of West Africa. Mauritania, a country of 3.2 million people, has reserves of iron ore, copper and gold and is seeking to encourage exploration in its offshore oil and gas sector.
Only a few months ago, no one would have expected that 2013 would turn out to be an election “super-year” for the Czech Republic. The first-ever presidential elections took place in January, while legislative elections were originally scheduled for the spring of 2014. But then the political scandal broke involving Prime Minister Petr Necas. The whole cabinet was forced to resign, and as it was replaced by the technocratic government of Jiri Rusnok (a man loyal to president Milos Zeman), it started to become clear that the country was heading towards a period of unusual political instability. The new cabinet failed to win a confidence vote and MPs eventually voted to dissolve the parliament, triggering early elections. Two main issues stand out in the forthcoming elections – the emergence of three to four new parties likely to win seats in the parliament, and the ambiguous role of President Milos Zeman.
Mauritania’s main opposition parties announced a boycott of November’s legislative election on Friday after talks with the government over preparations for the vote collapsed without agreement. The Coordination of the Democratic Opposition (COD) said after three days of talks with the government that 10 of its 11 member parties had decided to boycott the vote. The talks were the first between the two sides in over four years. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz seized power in a 2008 coup in the Islamic republic, which straddles black and Arab Africa on the continent’s west coast.
Iraq’s Kurdish region goes to the polls on Saturday, grappling with a swathe of disputes with the central government while fellow Kurds fight bloody battles across the border in Syria. The legislative election also comes amid questions over the future of the Kurdish nation, spread across historically hostile countries that have more recently either shown a willingness to discuss Kurdish demands, or have suffered instability, allowing Kurds to carve out their own territory. The September 21 vote is the first to be held in Kurdistan, a three-province autonomous region in north Iraq, in more than four years. It will see three main parties jostle for position in the Kurdish parliament, with long-term implications both domestically and farther afield. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of regional president Massud Barzani is widely expected to garner the largest number of seats.
The small West African nation of Togo held legislative elections on Thursday, nine months after they were originally scheduled. Although the vote was calm, opposition leaders expressed concern about a number of procedural problems. Togo has been ruled by the same family for more than four decades. Eyadema Gnassingbe came to power in 1967, and his son, Faure Gnassingbe, followed suit when Eyadema died in 2005, winning a flawed and violent election that year and a more credible re-election in 2010. When the last legislative elections were held in 2007, the ruling party claimed 60 percent of the seats. But there have been signs in recent years that frustration with the party is mounting, with notably large scale protests against government policies and alleged abuses by the security forces.
Pierre Warga is among the majority of Togo’s 6 million citizens who have spent their entire lives ruled by the Gnassingbe family. Eyadema Gnassingbe was in power for 38 years before dying of a heart attack in 2005. His son Faure Gnassingbe was then installed by the military before winning a highly flawed and violent election later that year, and a re-election in 2010. The small West African country goes to the polls Thursday for legislative elections that will test whether recent signs of discontent might legitimately threaten Gnassingbe’s hold on power. Some experts say there may be, for the first time, vulnerabilities in a country that has seen an increasingly daring public outcry against entrenched poverty, high youth unemployment and controversial crackdowns by the security forces.