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World: significant elections still to come in 2013

Elections should not be confused with democracy or freedom. Dates and information about upcoming elections are featured in the World and Media international development diary. Photo: Auntie P/Flickr.Between 1976 and 2003 there was a steady increase in the number of free countries – as classified by Freedom House – and a corresponding reduction in the number of countries that are "not free" or partially free". In recent years, there has also been an apparent increase in the number of elections that have been held. However, elections should not be confused with democracy or freedom. Progress on freedom has stalled.

While some elections are obvious shams. Many others are sometimes described as "free and fair" because of what is detected on polling day regardless of how the state marginalises and intimidates any opposition to the dominant party in between elections. Mugabe's re-election as president of Zimbabwe in July was described at the time by both the African Union and the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) as free and fair.

Dates and information about upcoming elections are featured in the World and Media international development diary. Below are among the notable elections still to come in 2013. Some might be free and fair. Others may be described as such but will be neither.

20.10.2013 Rerun of annulled 2013 Maldives presidential election Maldives

In a split 4-3 decision on Monday October 7, the Maldives Supreme Court annulled the results of the September 7 presidential election and suspended a scheduled presidential run-off election. It scheduled a fresh vote for October 20 after a candidate challenged the outcome, citing irregularities.

The removal of former President Mohamed Nasheed from power 20 months ago, amid a mutiny by police, has been followed by political turmoil. Nasheed had won a first round on September 7 with 45.45 percent of the vote. - Reuters

25.10.2013 2013 Madagascar presidential election Madagascar
20.12.2013 2013 Madagascar National Assembly and 2nd round Presidential Election Madagascar
Presidential 1st Rnd postponed to 25 Oct 2013 from 8 May 2013
Presidential 2nd Rnd & National Assembly postponed to 20 Dec 2013 from 3 Jul 2013
Local 23 Oct 2013
Senate (indirect) Oct/Nov 2013, after local

Madagascar pushed back the date of its presidential elections for the third time in August, to October 25, as the Indian Ocean island struggles to end years of political crisis - Reuters

Madagascar presidential candidate Jean Louis Robinson said he’ll cut taxes and take steps to attract foreign investors to help resuscitate economic growth that’s been at a standstill since a coup four years ago. - Bloomberg

The exclusion of three candidates has caused mixed reactions, including a bomb blast:

 

27.10.2013 2013 Georgian presidential election Georgia
06.11.2013 2013 Tajikistan presidential election Tajikistan

Tajikistan's presidential election on November 6 is expected to extend President Imomali Rakhmon's more than two-decade rule over the Central Asia country until 2020. - Reuters

19.11.2013 2013 Nepalese Constituent Assembly election Nepal

Nepal has made the necessary preparations to hold Constituent Assembly elections on 19 November 2013, its representative said at the United Nations in September, adding that the polls will be vital for moving forward with the democratic process in the post-conflict nation.

Nepal has been plagued by political disputes since a civil war between Government forces and Maoists formally ended in 2007 and the monarchy was abolished. - UN News Centre

It was reported today (October 10) that a Muslim candidate in in the upcoming elections after being shot. Mahamud Alam, a leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), was attacked by assailants the previous Friday, a day after he filed his candidacy in Bara district, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Katmandu. - AP

23.11.2013 2013 Mauritania elections Senate, National Assembly, regional & local Mauritania

Mauritania's main opposition parties announced a boycott of November's legislative election on Friday October 4 after talks with the government over preparations for the vote collapsed without agreement. - Reuters

Of the 11 parties which make up the Coordination of Democratic Opposition, just the Islamist group Tewassoul has agreed to take part in the polls, arguing that its participation would be a "form of struggle against the dictatorship". - Sapa-AFP

24.11.2013 2013 Guinea-Bissau Elections Guinea-Bissau

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly last month (26 September), the transitional President of Guinea-Bissau, which is recovering from a 2012 coup, said that national elections have been scheduled for November 2013, but that the fight against the cycle of poverty and instability continues.

Transitional President Manuel Serifo Nhamajo said that he has signed a decree setting 24 November as the date for legislative and presidential elections.

“What remains – which is not little – is to ensure the availability of funds to carry out an effective, transparent, and unquestionable electoral process,” he said.

Read more from the US news centre

He was speaking a few weeks after the UN special representative to Guinea-Bissau, Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta, said the country's planned presidential election may need to be delayed beyond November due to financial and logistical reasons. However, he warned that a long delay could "destabilize the political situation, undermining the efforts we have achieved so far."

24.11.2013 2013 Honduran presidential and parliamentary elections Honduras

Thelma Mejía, writing for IPS, analyses the nine idealogically diverse parties participating in the November 24 elections, including four new groups. She writes that "the unhealed wounds left by the 2009 coup in Honduras will continue to mark the campaign."

24.11.2013 2013 Mali parliamentary elections Mali

On September 18, Mali's new government set November 24 as the date for the first parliamentary elections since a military coup last year led to an Islamist occupation and French-led military intervention.

"A second round of voting will take place on Sunday, December 15, 2013 in constituencies where no candidate has obtained an absolute majority of votes cast in the first round," the minutes of a cabinet meeting published by the government said.

The announcement angered some groups – including the United Front for Safeguarding Democracy and Republic (FDR), a grouping of 40 parties and around 100 civil society groups – who said they had not been given enough time to consider the proposal. - AFP

15.12.2013 2013 Turkmenistan parliamentary elections Turkmenistan

For the first time, the Turkmenistan parliamentary elections will be contested by two parties.

The Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (PPPT) – founded in 2012 – will be seeking seats in the December 15 election alongside the ruling Democratic Party (former Communist Party). Presently, the 125 seat parliament has one PPPT member, who won a vacated seat in Akhal Oblast in June. - Central Asia online

Turkmenistan has a presidential system. The incumbent, Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow of the Democratic Party, has ruled since the death in 2006 of the country's first post-Soviet president, later "President for life", Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov.

17.12.2013 2013 Tunisia general election Tunisia

 

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