This year has been nothing short of thrilling when it came to elections and global politics. With COVID-19 on the rampage and hundreds of elections postponed or cancelled, it’s been interesting to see what happened in the elections that did go ahead. With the rise of the right in some areas and a strong left-wing presence in others, clearly the world is moving in multiple directions. These elections will set the stage for an exciting 2021, and with the UK having its own local and mayoral elections in the near future, it’s worth learning about how people are voting around the world. Hopefully, this article will provide an unbiased view on elections that have taken place but that you might not have heard about yet so don’t worry, there’s only one paragraph on the USA!
Italian Regional Elections
Overall, it seems the centre-right coalition is making gains in Italy, as Salvini’s Lega, Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia came 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively. The centre-left coalition and the 5 Star Movement survived another election, as they only lost one of the four key regions they were defending. The far-right Lega didn’t make the gains they had planned after failing to take two regions, but they stated it was a close vote and that they are confident for future elections. With the new advancements made by the right-wing Brothers of Italy, it is believed that the centre-right alliance may have an internal struggle if it cannot gain power from the centre-left and populists soon. The Brothers of Italy movement was the only party to make consistent gains in all regions of the usually politically polarised Italy.
Matteo Salvini, politician and leader of Lega
Czech Regional and Senate Elections
Opposition parties won big in the Czech Republic senate elections. The ruling centre-left coalition took big hits on the night as the centre-right took 26 of the 27 seats up for grabs. The leading centrist party ANO took only one seat, while the left-wing Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) lost all the 10 seats it was defending. The Mayors and Independents (STAN) won 11 seats, increasing their share by 7, the conservative Civic Democratic Party won 5 seats, increasingly their seat total by 3, and Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party (KDU-CLS) won 3 only seats, halving their pre-election total.
In the Regional Elections, centrist ANO kept hold of their majority, gaining 2 seats to bring their total to 178. The big winners of the night were the Czech Pirate Party, adding 94 seats to their previous 5 and catapulting them into second place. The Civic Democrats gained 23 seats and the Mayors and Independents gained 31. The big losers were the left-wing CSSD, who lost 88 of their 125 pre-election seats.
Kyrgyz Parliamentary Election
The Parliament was broken into and ransacked after controversial election results. Protests broke out after only 4 political parties out of 16 passed the threshold for entry into parliament, as 3 of the 4 have close ties to President Jeenbekov. The protesters also stormed other government buildings, freeing a number of high-profile prisoners. None of the established opposition parties secured a seat at the parliament and, just days later, all 12 opposition groups jointly declared they would not recognize the results of the vote. They accused parties close to the president of vote-buying and voter intimidation – claims international monitors said were "credible" and a cause for "serious concern".
Protesters pictured in front of the Supreme Council, the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic
Tajik Presidential Election
This election marks the 5th straight victory for authoritarian dictator Emomali Rahmon, as the main opposition got only 3% of votes in a clearly rigged election. Human Rights Watch described Tajikistan in a recent report as having a “dire human rights situation” while the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which independently monitored the vote, has never recognized an election in the country as democratic.
New Caledonian Independence Referendum
New Caledonia is a French overseas colony. It recently had a referendum on full independence which was rejected by 53% to 47%, with more people choosing to stay a “special collectivity” of France. The growth of pro-independence political parties in New Caledonia led to this referendum, which is the second in only 3 years. Macron expressed happiness about the result and asked for both sides to better cooperate in the future.
Jamaican General Election
Two parties ran, and the incumbent centre-right Jamaica Labour Party claimed victory with a 17 seat gain and 57% of the vote. The other party, left-wing People’s National Party, was the only opposition and lost 17 seats. The JLP now has 49 seats compared to the PNP’s 14. This was a landslide victory for the government prompted by their handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
New Zealand General Election
A surprise landslide victory came for the New Zealand Labour party in the 2020 elections as they secured 49% of the vote and 64 seats. This was at the expense of both the NZ First Party, who lost all 9 of their seats, and the National Party, who dropped 23 seats and a shocking 18.9 percentage points of their party vote. The Green Party won 10 seats and the ACT party gained 9 seats. This will be the first single-party government since 1933 in New Zealand. However, it is believed that this win could be the biggest challenge to the Labour Party yet. Ms Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, was suffering relative unpopularity until her handling of COVID-19 hugely increased her popular support. Once the crisis is over, many believe she will have a tough election to fight in 3 years. For now, she is to continue her rule without a coalition, after an incredible election victory built on star power and good leadership.
There were two smaller referendums in New Zealand at the same time, concerning euthanasia and cannabis. New Zealand voted ‘No’ to cannabis legalisation with groups such as the New Conservative Party and Family First New Zealand heading the anti-legalisation movement. New Zealand did end up voting for the legalisation of euthanasia, though.
US Presidential Election
Joe Biden takes home a massive win after another hotly contested election in the USA. Some Trump supporters continue to argue that the election hasn’t really finished, with counts still being contested and public demonstrations continuing to take place. Joe Biden took 51.1% of the vote and 306 electoral votes, while Donald Trump lost despite getting over 10 million more votes than in the last election, with 47.1% and 232 electoral votes.
Burkinabe Presidential Election
Roch Christian Kabore of the People’s Movement for Progress, a centre-left party in Burkina Faso, has been elected President with a landslide victory of 57.87% of the vote. Eddie Komboïgo of the Congress for Democracy and Progress came second with 15.48%. Kabore shall continue his leadership of one of the poorest countries in the world, which is struggling with a jihadist campaign that has claimed at least 1,200 lives since 2015 and forced around a million people to flee their homes. Because of the unrest, the election was not held across at least 1/5th of the territory, denying up to 350,000 people the right to vote.
Moldovan Presidential Election
Pro-Western candidate Maia Sandu of the Action and Solidarity Party wins the election in the second round of voting with 57.72%, beating incumbent Igor Dodon from the Party of Socialists, who favours closer Russian relations. After coming second place in the first round of voting, Sandu took home a surprise victory. The results of this election are overshadowed by the extreme damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Moldova as one of the poorest nations in Europe. Sandu has said she is hoping for closer ties with the EU and for potential economic aid to help economic stability return to the nation.
President Maia Sandu of Moldova speaking with reporters
Romanian Parliamentary Election
The centre-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) takes home the win after Romania’s parliamentary election, with 30% of the votes. However, it is unlikely that the Social Democrats will control the government, as Prime Minister’s National Liberal Party (PNL) has more potential allies found in the other liberal parties such as the Save Romania Union – Freedom, Unity and Solidarity Party Alliance (USR-PLUS). Yet again turnout fell in Romania, a nation whose political system has major issues with corruption, to just 33%. The little-known Alliance for the Unity od Romanians (AUR), an ultranationalist party that proclaims to stand for 'family, nation, faith, and freedom,’ rose from obscurity to take almost 9% of the overall vote. They weren’t even considered in the polls running up to the election. AUR called for less restrictions during the pandemic and were popular with the Romanian diaspora.