Year in Review - September 2013

Dec. 30, 2013, 4:42 p.m.

Australia (September 7, 2013): Early elections to the Senate and House of Representatives were held in Australia on September 7, 2013. Former Prime Minister Julia GILLARD had originally called for elections on September 14, 2013; however, after losing leadership of the Labor Party and the position of Prime Minister to Kevin RUDD on June 27, 2013, the election date was changed to September 7, 2013. At stake in the election were all 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 of the 76 seats in the Senate. Despite the leadership change, the Labor Party struggled in elections to both bodies, losing control of the government. In the House of Representatives, the Labor Party won 33.38 percent of the vote, winning 55 seats, a loss of 17 from the previous election. The Coalition of the Liberal Party, the Liberal National Party (Queensland), National Party, and Country Liberal Party (Northern Territory) won a combined 45.55 percent of the vote and 90 seats in the House of Representatives. Three other parties and 2 independent candidates also won seats in the election. As a result of the election, leader of the Liberal Party Tony ABBOTT has been named Prime Minister. In the Senate elections, The Coalition again won the most seats, winning 17 seats with 37.70 percent of the vote. Overall, this brings their seat total to 33 in the Senate. The Labor Party lost 6 seats in the election, bringing their Senate total to 25 seats.

Maldives (September 7, 2013): The first round of presidential elections were held in the Maldives on September 7, 2013. Four candidates contested the election; former President Mohamed NASHEED, who had resigned in 2012, President Mohammed WAHEED Hassan Maniku, wealthy businessman Qasim IBRAHIM, and half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul GAYYOOM, Abdulla YAMEEN. In the first round of voting, NASHEED received the most votes, winning 45.45 percent of the vote. YAMEEN finished second, and was scheduled to face NASHEED in a run-off election on September 28, 2013. Following the election, however, third place finished Qasim IBRAHIM challenged the results of the first round in the Supreme Court, alleging voter fraud. On September 27, the Supreme Court of the Maldives annulled the results of the first round of voting, with a new election scheduled for October 19, 2013. The Maldivian police prevented the Election Commission from holding voting on this day, and the election was subsequently re-scheduled for November 9, 2013.

Norway (September 8, 2013): Elections to the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) were held in September to elect 169 new members to the body. The Labour Party / Arbeiderpartiet, led by Prime Minister Jens STOLTENBERG, again won the most seats in the election, winning 55 seats with 30.84 percent of the vote. The Conservative Party / Høyre, led by Erna SOLBERG won the second most seats, winning 48 seats with 26.81 percent of the vote. Despite gaining the most seats, the Labour Party / Arbeiderpartiet lost control of the Parliament, as together with their Red-green coalition partners, the Centre Party / Senterpartiet and the Socialist Left Party / Sosialistisk Venstreparti won only 72 seats in the Parliament. The centre-right coalition including SOLBERG’s Conservative Party / Høyre, the Progress Party / Fremskrittspartiet, the Christian Democratic Party / Kristelig Folkeparti, and the Liberal Party / Venstre, won the most seats with 96. On September 30, 2013, these four parties announced a minority cabinet with SOLBERG as Prime Minister.

Macau (September 15, 2013): Elections to the Macanese Legislative Council were held on September 15, 2013. In the Macanese Legislative Council, 14 members are directly elected through party-list proportional representation, while 12 others are indirectly elected through special interest groups and a further 7 are appointed by the chief executive. The election law had been reformed in 2012 to increase the number of seats from 29 to 33, including an increase in the directly elected seats from 12 to 14. Eight parties won seats in the election, with parties representing the pan-democracy camp winning 4 seats, and parties representing the pan-establishment camp winning 10 seats. The United Citizens Association of Macau / Nova União para Desenvolvimento de Macau 澳門發展新連盟 (NUDM) won the most votes in the election, winning 18.02 percent of the vote and 3 seats.

Rwanda (September 16-18, 2013): Elections to the Rwandan Chamber of Deputies (Chambre des Députés) were held over the course of three days. On the first day of voting, voters cast ballots for the 53 candidates elected by closed-list proportional representation. On the second day of voting, three candidates are elected by the National Youth Council and the Federation of the Associations of the Disabled. Finally, on the third day, 24 members are elected in the seats that are reserved for female candidates. The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front / Front Patriotique Rwandais, led by President Paul KAGAME maintained their majority control of the Chamber of Deputies, winning 76.22 percent of the vote and 41 seats. Two other parties, the Social Democratic Party / Parti Social Démocrate and the Liberal Party / Parti Libéral won seven and five seats respectively.

Swaziland (September 20, 2013): Elections to Swaziland’s House of Assembly were held on September 20, 2013. Candidates for the September 20 election had previously been selected in primary elections in each single-member district on August 24, 2013. Political parties are illegal in Swaziland, and as such all candidates for office are independents. Although the winning candidates have been announced, vote totals from the election have yet to be published.

Iraq (September 21, 2013): Voters in the Iraqi Kurdistan participated in local elections on September 21, 2013 to elect 111 members to the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament. In the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament, 100 members are elected through open-list proportional representation, with 11 seats reserved for non-Kurdish minorities. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) received the most votes in the election with 37.79 percent and 38 seats in the Parliament. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which had the second most seats in Parliament, will lose seats in the new Parliament after receiving 17.80 percent of the vote and 18 seats. The Movement for Change / Gorran will serve as the prime opposition party in the Parliament after receiving 24.21 percent of the vote and 24 seats.

Germany (September 22, 2013): Federal elections to the Bundestag were held on September 22, 2013. In the Bundestag elections, 299 members are elected by plurality vote in single-member constituencies and 299 members are elected by proportional representation, with the potential of additional seats being added for compensatory purposes. The alliance of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria / Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands / Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern (CDU/CSU) won 41.64 percent of the vote, giving them 311 seats in the Bundestag. Due to the addition of 32 compensatory seats, the CDU/CSU fell short of an outright majority in the election. Additionally, their former government coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party / Freie Demokratische Partei fell short of the five percent election threshold, losing the 93 seats that they had held in the Bundestag. The opposition Social Democratic Party of Germany / Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) finished second in the election, winning 192 seats with 25.74 percent of the vote. Following the election, a grand coalition between the CDS/CSU and SPD was agreed to on November 28, with Chancellor Angela MERKEL being sworn in for another term on December 17, 2013.

Switzerland (September 22, 2013): Swiss voters participated in three nationwide votes on September 22 on whether or not to approve amendments to the Epidemics Act, to end compulsory military service, and to accept amendments to the Employment Act to allowpetrol stations to remain open around the clock. Voters overwhelmingly approved the amendments, which attempted to improve the protection of the population against health risks. In the referendum, 60.25 percent of Swiss voters voted in favor of the amendments. Swiss voters also approved the amendments to the amendments to the Employment Act, with 55.79 percent of voters voting in favor. Following the results of the referendum held in neighboring Austria in January 2013, a vote was held on a civic initiative to do away with compulsory military service to be replaced with voluntary conscription. As with the vote in Austria, the Swiss vote failed with 73.16 percent of voters opposing the civic initiative.

Aruba (September 27, 2013): Elections to the Legislature (Staten) of Aruba were held on September 27, 2013. At stake in the election were 21 seats in the Legislature, elected by open-list proportional representation. The Aruban People’s Party / Arubaanse Volkspartij, led by Prime Minister Mike EMAN, increased their seat share by one, winning 13 seats with 57.28 percent of the vote. The opposition People’s Electoral Movement / Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo lost one seat, after gaining 30.54 percent of the vote and 7 seats.

Guinea (September 28, 2013): Elections to the Guinean National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) were held in September 28, 2013, after repeated delays from the originally scheduled election in June 2007. In the election, 76 members of the National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) were elected by closed-list proportional representation in a single nationwide district, while a further 38 members were elected in single-member electoral constituencies. The Rally of Guinean People / Rassemblement du Peuple Guinéen Arc-en-Ciel, led by President Alpha CONDE won the most seats in the election, winning 53 seats with 46.26 percent of the vote at the proportional level. Allied parties won a further seven seats, giving CONDE’s party a majority in the National Assembly. The main opposition party, the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea / Union des Forces Démocratiques de Guinée (UFDG) won the second most seats in the election, winning 37 seats and 30.48 percent of the vote. The UFDG and other opposition parties have claimed that the election results were fraudulent.

Austria (September 29, 2013): Austrian voters elected 183 members to the National Council (Nationalrat) on September 29, 2013. Elections are done on the basis of open-list proportional representation, with parties required to receive at least 4 percent of the vote to receive seats in the National Council. Six parties reached the threshold for seats in the National Council. The Social Democratic Party of Austria / Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ) won the most seats in the election, winning 52 seats and 26.86 percent of the vote. Finishing second was the Austrian People’s Party / Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP) with 47 seats and 24.01 percent of the vote. The SPÖ and ÖVP had ruled as a grand coalition prior to the election, and despite losing a combined 9 seats, the two parties have renewed the grand coaltion.

Cameroon (September 30, 2013): Delayed elections to the Cameroonian National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) were held on September 30, 2013. The Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement / Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais (CPDM), led by President Paul BIYA maintained their majority in the National Assembly. The CPDM won 148 seats in the election, while the opposition Social Democratic Front / Front Social-Démocratique won 18 seats. Vote totals from the election have not been released by the Cameroonian Election Commission.

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