College Green Group blog

The elections (so far) of 2024 – a summary

2024, dubbed a ‘super election year’ will see more than 60 countries with a combined population of two billion people will cast ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections. What has happened so far across the world?


The Comoros

Comorian President Azali Assoumani was re-elected for a fourth term, following an exceedingly low turnout of 16% by cause of an opposition boycott. The election was ultimately seen as a referendum on the presidency of the incumbent, whose rule has been marred by controversy. He faced five challengers, one of whom, Mouigni Baraka announced that “we cannot talk about results because there was no election.” The election was mired in reports of significant irregularities and fraud, and violent protests broke out when it was announced that Assoumani had won in the first round with a simple majority, reported at first as having been with 57% of the vote, subsequently revised up to 63% of the vote. According to Reuters, polls closed early, supporting accusations of ballot stuffing by the selected incumbent and increasing support for vote nullification. Violence erupted in the capital of Moroni following the rejection of such denunciations by Assoumani, undeterred by the prohibition of street protests. The US embassy commented that the election results “raised serious concerns that must be addressed to maintain the peace and well-being of the nation.”


January marked the start of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s fifth term. Hasina will serve another five years in office after her party, the Awami League and its allies, won 225 of 300 parliamentary seats contested. After decrying the poll as a ‘sham’, numerous BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) members and supporters were arrested, describing their own actions as ‘peaceful and non-violent’ despite being labelled by Hasina as a terrorist organisation. A spokesman for the United States gave the impression that the election was neither free nor fair. Official figures suggested a low voter turnout of about 40%, though critics say even those numbers may be inflated. In comparison, the last election in 2018 had a voter turnout of more than 80%. Moreover, Human Rights Watch (HRW) estimates that nearly 10,000 activists were arrested after an opposition rally on the 28th of October turned violent, resulting in the deaths of at least 16 people and injuring more than 5,500. HRW accused the government of “filling prisons with the ruling Awami League’s political opponents.”

Hasina’s supporters insist she has provided much-needed political stability for Bangladesh, and present a contrasting picture. The Muslim-majority nation, once one of the world’s poorest, has achieved credible economic success under her leadership since 2009. It’s now one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, even surpassing its giant neighbour India. Its per capita income has tripled in the last decade and the World Bank estimates that more than 25 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the last 20 years. It is also the world’s second largest garment producer after China. With rising inflation and conditions for an IMF loan it took earlier kicking in, the government may struggle to tackle public fallout. The UN and other international organisations have also expressed alarm over human rights abuses and the stifling of dissent. Hasina is aware that as long as India backs her, any threat of major sanctions by the West can be countered. By the end of her term as prime minister, she will be 81. Who will succeed her is a big question for many in Bangladesh, including supporters of the Awami League. As some analysts say, “the election result was clear, but the future looks uncertain.”


Bhutan held its fourth general election since the country’s transition from a traditional monarchy to a parliamentary system in January. Former prime minister from 2013 to 2018, Tshering Tobgay, sought a second non-consecutive term in office. The 47 members of the National Assembly were elected from single-member constituencies with the two parties who received the most votes advancing to the second round. The second round is run on a first past the post basis. This year, the top two parties in the first round were the People’s Democratic Party and the Bhutan Tendrel Party. In the second round the PDP won 55% of the vote with the BTP taking 45%, on turnout of 63%, a record low. The two sitting parties were both defeated in the first round.

The economy in Bhutan is yet to rebound from the effects of the pandemic, so the key issues facing the country are youth unemployment, at 28%, and weak growth with high inflation. Notably, the election process remained peaceful, despite stark regional differences in opinion. As well as aiming for economic growth, candidates ensured to maintain the nation’s core philosophy, ‘Gross National Happiness’, at the forefront of their campaigns whilst navigating disputes with China, something that Tobgay continues to grapple with today.


Tuvalu’s general election saw the replacement of pro-Taiwan Kausea Natano with former Attorney General Feleti Teo, attracting unexpected international attention. Described by some as a ‘new political landscape’, the election proved definitive in terms of ties with Taiwan and China, with the Australian Foreign Minister making clear his optimism on relations with the new government. There has been speculation that Tuvalu, one of just 12 states that still formally recognise Taiwan, could consider establishing relations with Beijing. China had already poached some of Taiwan’s Pacific allies, convincing the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to switch recognition in 2019. Since the vote, lawmakers in Tuvalu have named Teo as the nation’s new prime minister, weeks after the general election. Natano’s former finance minister, Seve Paeniu, who was considered a leadership contender, had said the issue of diplomatic recognition of Taiwan or China should be debated by the new government.


El Salvador

President Nayib Bukele, widely credited for his record in the country of depressing gang and drug violence, was re-elected. Preliminary results released after 70% of votes had been counted showed him securing a second term by winning 83% of the votes, though he had already claimed victory before the results were announced. Under his presidency, El Salvador has been transformed from one of the most violent countries in the world to one of the safest in Latin America. Hailing his victory as achieving “the biggest difference between first place and second place in history.” His party, ‘New Ideas’, also enjoyed victory in the legislative election, winning 54 out of the 60 seats in the National Assembly. 

Now, with the vote actually certified, the supermajority effectively gives the self-described “world’s coolest dictator” even firmer control of all three branches of government. His landslide victory did not come as a surprise to many. Aside from support from governments within Central America, Bukele’s triumph was recognised by the Chinese government, considered a strategic decision to maintain positive relations between the two countries. However, many view his flagship accomplishment of cracking down on the cartels as unsustainable – given 1% of the country’s population is now imprisoned.


Far-right and ultra-orthodox Zionist parties made significant gains in Israel’s municipal elections this week, raising fears among secular Israelis and Palestinians in Israel. Jerusalem saw one of the largest victories for Israel’s hard right, which captured a majority of local municipal seats. Though its centrist mayor, Moshe Leon, won a landslide victory to remain mayor. His victory could inflame existing tension, leaving him to the mercy of the city’s new hard right legislators. Israeli attorney, Daniel Seidmann, said: “The municipal results are highly significant in disclosing ongoing trends… Indeed, the ultra-orthodox or extreme right wing won a majority, but they pretty much ran things [in Jerusalem] already.” Seidmann believes that Jerusalem is also a powder keg that could explode at any moment, explaining that Leon will not be able to stop the hard right from bulldozing homes, provocatively marching through Palestinian quarters of Jerusalem, or inciting hate crimes.

In Tel Aviv, voters re-elected Ron Huldai for another term as mayor. Huldai has been the city’s leader for more than 20 years, indicating that most voters were looking to protect liberal norms and spaces, according to Oren Ziv, an Israeli political commentator. For example, Huldai was one of several mayors who opposed the decision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give far-right politician Avi Maoz authority over Israeli school curriculums in December 2022. He has since warned that Israel was becoming a fascist theocracy. Ziv has also explained that “many people feel that the government or regime in Israel could affect Tel Aviv, and that Huldai is the only one that will stand up to them and to Netanyahu. People do worry how the right wing could affect issues like the education system and LGBTQ rights.”

In the northern Israeli city of Haifa, where Palestinian-Israeli relations are believed to be better than in other mixed cities, the run-off election, eventually won by Yona Yahav, was largely a battle between two moderates. However, both results from Haifa and in Tel Aviv appear to be exceptions to the broader gains of right-wing candidates enjoyed across Israel. It is believed that much of their success can be attributed to a depressed turnout of secular and left-wing Israelis who did not vote because they were distracted by the ongoing war in Gaza. For instance, Yair Revivo was elected as the mayor of the mixed Palestinian-Israeli city Lydd. He is accused of deliberately orchestrating the demolition of Palestinian homes and facilitating the immigration of hard right Jewish Israelis to the city – including settlers from the West Bank. He has also embarked on a widespread rearmament programme of his city’s Israeli population, arguing that they need weapons for their protection.


Azerbaijan voted in its presidential election to re-elect President Aliyev to a fifth consecutive term in power with more than 92% of the vote. The vote was planned for 2025, but a snap poll was called after the government seized control of a region run by ethnic Armenian separatists. Aliyev’s popularity rocketed up following Azerbaijan’s lightning offensive in September 2023 that brought an end to three decades of ethnic Armenian rule in the Nagorno-Karabakh region – which is recognised internationally as Azerbaijani territory.

Analysts observed that the snap election in February was not in line with democratic norms. Aliyev ran against six other candidates although none were critical of his rule. Artur Gerasymov, an observer from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe declared that President Aliyev “was not meaningfully challenged… [which] resulted in a contest devoid of genuine pluralism.” Nonetheless, Aliyev received support from various leaders, including the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, perhaps signalling progress in relations between the countries. The two countries, whose relations have long been strained, are now working together on a transit corridor and discussing normalising their relations. Again, this development comes following the lightning offensive.

Azerbaijan had long accused Iran of favouring Armenia in the decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, especially after the 2020 war, when Azerbaijan established control over its entire frontier with Iran. Azerbaijan accused Iran of sending oil and other goods, and even weapons, to “separatist authorities” in Karabakh. But, with this issue largely resolved, this may usher in a new era of stability for the region.


The elections were the first since the 2020–2021 Belarusian protests against ‘Europe’s last dictator.’ The Lukashenko regime was emboldened by the February parliamentary election – so much so that he used his victory speech to announce his 2025 re-election bid. Lukashenko was congratulated on his victory by Russian President Putin, demonstrative of the Kremlin’s desire to maintain a strategic partnership with the country many see as an offshoot of the Russian Federation. With only those parties who demonstrated support for Lukashenko being allowed to run, the election was labelled as a ‘farce’ by the opposition, a comment with which the US Government showed agreement. Opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, who is in exile in neighbouring Lithuania after challenging Lukashenko in the 2020 election, urged voters to boycott the poll: “There are no people on the ballot who would offer real changes because the regime only has allowed puppets convenient for it to take part,” Tsikhanouskaya said in a video statement.

Most candidates belong to four pro-regime parties that were allowed to be registered: Belaya Rus, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Party of Labor and Justice. All those parties support Lukashenko’s policies. About a dozen other parties were denied registration last year. Lukashenko warned that the authorities had “learnt our lesson” since the 2020 protests and there would be “no rebellions” during Sunday’s election. Last month, Belarus’s powerful KGB security service orchestrated a series of raids which rights groups said had targeted the families of political prisoners. There are currently 1,419 political detainees in Belarus jails, according to leading human rights group, Viasna. Among the detainees is renowned rights advocate Ales Bialiatski, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022.

Belarus for the first time also refused to invite observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor the election. Belarus is a member of the OSCE, a top trans-Atlantic security and rights group, and its monitors have been the only international observers at Belarusian elections for decades. Observers saw the balloting as a dress rehearsal for next year’s presidential vote.

The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic held municipal elections for mayors and local councillors, with the official party, the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) winning 121 of the 158 seats, a 40 seat increase since the 2020 election. The ‘People’s Force’, a smaller party, have accused the PRM of an abusive use of government resources through the election and have pushed for legal action at their central electoral board. This election was a good indication of the expected success which came on the 19th of May in the Dominican Republic’s general election which saw the popular incumbent President Luis Abinader re-elected with 57.4% of the vote.


On the 25th of February, Cambodians voted in their Senate elections, which would see Hun Sen’s regime with the Cambodians People’s Party (CPP) continue as he was made president of the Senate, moving from the role of prime minister, in which he had served since 1985, till 2023. Hun Sen’s son, Hun Manet has taken over the role of PM and is the vice president of the ruling CPP. On the night of Hun Manet’s birth, a bright light flew over the roof of Hun Sen’s house, making Sen believe that his son was born from a supernatural being. There were many reports in this election that there was targeting of local councillors of the ‘Candlelight’ party through intimidation and vote buying. Many of these councillors were approached by the CPP, asking them to stay away from polling stations or attempting to bribe them to vote for the CPP. The outcome resulted in the CPP had won 55 out of 58 contested seats with the 3 remaining seats going to the opposition party, the ‘Khmer Will Party’, and the final four seats filled by appointees of King Norodom Sihamoni and the National Assembly.



The Former Prime Minister of Senegal Amadou Ba has conceded defeat after a month of postponing the election on March the 24th to his rival Bassirou Diomaye Faye. This postponement triggered a constitutional crisis, one that Senegalese institutions and the public have thus far weathered with a resilience – attesting to the country’s deeply ingrained democratic norms. Faye won 53.7% of the vote share, compared to the former PM’s 36.2%. Ba and outgoing President Macky Sall sent Faye their congratulations after the announcement. Ba said that the people “have confirmed our country’s status as a major democracy.”

The election was unique in Senegal’s recent history, in that the incumbent president did not run. In July 2023, after a long period of uncertainty and political violence, President Sall clarified his intentions to step down at the end of his constitutional two-term limit.

The vote was also an anti-establishment message, as Senegal has undergone three years of difficult economic and political turmoil which have been blamed on foreign companies overfishing in local waters and corruption within the executive branch. Faye had promised to tackle corruption by re-examining energy contracts and prioritising national economic interests within his campaign. He was particularly popular with young people, and with 60% of the population being under 25 in a nation with relatively high unemployment, Faye promised change and jobs as a priority. Faye will also face strong demands for governance-related reforms. He has signed the National Pact for Good Democratic Governance, which aims to improve governance in the spirit of the recommendations of the 2013 National Commission for Institutional Reform. This program follows in the footsteps of the 2007 Assises Nationales (National Dialogue), which concluded that Senegal has “an imbalance of power, with a strong concentration of power in the hands of the president of the Republic, who has legislative power and ascendancy over the judiciary.”


On the 31st of March, the Turkish electorate went to the ballot box to vote in local elections for mayors and councillors. This can oftentimes be a good indication as to where the zeitgeist of the nation sits, before having the opportunity to change the national government. Just under a year ago, President Erdoğan had confirmed his third term as president after a narrow victory with 52% of the vote. However, the electorate has become progressively more unhappy with the AKP leader. These elections were the first since the Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s establishment in 2001 in which the party did not win the popular vote. This is also the Turkish Republican Party (CHP)’s best result since 1977 as they achieved 37% of the vote share, followed by the AKP’s 35%. The CHP performed well in urban areas, as they are a social democratic party which aligns with much of the metropolitan areas, and success in Istanbul and Ankara have given them supermajorities in the relevant councils, handing the CHP much more power over these western-facing Turkish cities.

However, this year the CHP also managed to perform well in rural areas which is new territory for them. Part of the reason the nation shifted from Erdoğan has been due to his economic policy since last year. Inflation has been high, interest rates have been slashed, and prices have been increasing. After his presidential election Erdoğan decided to raise interest rates hoping for a quick recession so that prices would go down ahead of the local elections, yet this strategy failed. Benchmark interest rates climbed to historic highs at 50% and inflation still stands at 60% keeping the lira weak. The outcome of this election was seismic, prompting Erdoğan to indicate that these local elections would be his last, suggesting an end to his more than two decades in power. The race to succeed him ought to be one of the most anticipated contests in European and Asian politics.



On the 20th of April, Togo was slated to go to the polls to vote for new regional legislators, but this was delayed to the 29th of April. This came after a recent controversial reform to allow legislators to choose the president without the need for a national election. This constitutional amendment had been presented to the Togo electorate as a change in political system, whereby the prime minister would assume control of the executive branch, whilst the president was relegated to a ceremonial role. This was not well-received by the electorate, leading to fears that there would be no more checks and balances on the president, as he simply changes job titles. President Faure Gnassingbé has been in office since 2005, after his father (who himself was also president following a successful military coup) appointed him. The 60 year family dynasty have constantly sought to protect themselves through dubious constitutional amendments at every election cycle. Whilst Togolese anger at the lack of democratic stability in their nation remains rife, one cannot expect much change from the Togo government in the imminent future.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi was tested in the Indian elections late April, with 642 million voters going to the polls, 312 million of which were women, making this the largest democratic election ever. The result was not the clear win that Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had wanted, but he was still able to maintain his position as PM – albeit without his precious parliamentary majority. The BJP’s campaign strategy was to put Modi front and centre, to make voters focus more on his character and less on the party and its record. An example of this could be seen in the BJP’s manifesto, which was titled ‘Modi’s Guarantees.’ Many of his speeches initially focused on the BJP’s mammoth infrastructure push, generous welfare programmes and elevation of India on the world stage over the past decade, as well as promises to turn the nation into a $10tn economy. However, this was not the success that was envisioned by Modi.

It is the first time since elected in 2014 that the BJP has not won a clear majority on its own. Nonetheless, together with its political allies, known as the national democratic alliance (NDA), its win amounts to about 292 seats, which is enough to form a majority government to rule for the next five years and return Modi to office for a third term. Meanwhile, the opposition alliance, which goes by the acronym INDIA, far outperformed expectations, collectively winning more than 230 seats. The alliance, formed of more than 20 national and regional opposition parties, had come together for the first time in this election with the aim of defeating Modi.

The INDIA coalition proved more resilient and successful than many analysts had expected, despite grappling with state agencies freezing party funds and jailing opposition leaders in the buildup to the polls. They were particularly boosted by regional parties who far outperformed the BJP, such as the Samajwadi party in Uttar Pradesh, the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party in Tamil Nadu.

The key issues which Modi faced coming into this election concerned youth unemployment, high inequality, as well as religious tensions epitomised when Modi opened a grand Hindu temple in January at the controversial site of the former Babri Mosque, which resulted in riots with over 2,000 people dead. Maya Tudor, associate professor at Oxford University’s Blavatnik school of government, said: “Particularly in the Hindi heartland, which is the BJP’s core base, voters have not delivered the expected Modi wave. So relative to expectations, you can read this as a loss for the BJP.”

The BJP’s ability to continue with its more hardline Hindu nationalist policies could also be impeded as it is forced to rely on its coalition partners, some of which do not have the same Hindu-first agenda, and analysts said Modi could be forced to take a more pragmatic or consensus-based pathway in policy than ever before. The ‘Modi wave’ had been dented by problems such as high unemployment and inflation. In the aftermath of the election, Modi grappled with a more powerful and more animated opposition than at any point over the past decade.

For example, Mallikarjun Kharge, president of the Congress Party, said Modi had faced a “moral and political defeat.” Mamata Banerjee, leader of the Trinamool Congress party that swept the seats in West Bengal, called on Modi to step down. “These results have shown that Modi has lost all credibility and he should immediately resign,” she said. The slide towards a strongman-led authoritarian flawed democracy, may be significantly upended with talks of coalitions in order to keep India’s government functioning.

The Maldives

On the 21st of April, the Maldives carried out parliamentary elections after a postponement from President Mohamed Muizzu ratified an election postponement bill due to clashing with school exams. The incumbent president’s party the People’s National Congress saw a landslide victory, crushing the opposition, the Maldivian Democratic Party. The election was called so that President Muizzu could win a clear mandate to push his legislative agenda through the Maldivian parliament known as the ‘People’s Majlis.’ The People’s National Congress won 66 seats out of 93, with his allies winning 9 seats, giving the president a backing of 75 legislators. The main issue at this election was with regards to the Maldives relations with India, which is at an all time low. Muiu has promised to expel the 75 Indian military personnel stationed in the country. The president is also a supporter of China, suggesting that cutting links to India and improving relations with the Chinese will be beneficial in tackling debt and ensuring foreign investment in the future.


Kuwait has undergone a general election following the change in Monarch to Emir Sheikh Mishal al-Ah-mad al-Sabah who came to the throne after his half brother and predecessor died last year. This has been the third parliamentary election in Kuwait in three years, as the Emir is struggling to pass his legislative agenda without a strong majority. The results this year saw the opposition party win 29 out of 50 seats. However, disputes between the national assembly and the royal-appointed cabinet have caused constant deadlocks delaying much-needed reforms. This has prevented the Emir from implementing the policies he wants, and he has been eager to push through economic reforms in what observers say is an apparent attempt at helping the OPEC producer to catch up with its Gulf neighbours which have been implementing ambitious plans to wean their economies off oil.

Results also showed a single female candidate was elected, the same as in the previous parliament, while Shia Muslim legislators secured eight seats in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country, one more than last year. Seats for the Islamic Constitutional Movement, which represents the Kuwaiti branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, fell to one from the previous three. “No radical change was expected in the results,” said Bader al-Saif, assistant professor of history at Kuwait University. However, the vote will result in a long-term decision with the new parliament tasked with approving the Emir’s choice of crown prince, Kuwait’s future Emir.


On the 17th of April, Croatia went to the polls to vote on their legislative representatives. The outcome was the return of the incumbent party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, however the opposition parties denied it a one party majority in the Sabor, Croatia’s parliament. The HDZ won 61 out of 143 seats, followed by the ‘Rivers of Justice’ coalition of centre-left parties who achieved 42 seats. The Homeland Movement (DP) obtained 14 seats making them the third largest party in Sabor. The DP was formed in 2020 by far right nationalist Miroslav Skoro and is now led by Ivan Penava. The DP has attracted voters who were on the far right of the HDZ. This has meant the HDZ and the DP have had to come together to form a coalition government and majority in the legislative branch in order to pass legislation.


On the 23rd March, Slovakians took part in the first round of their presidential election. Independent Ivan Korčok, a nominee of the centre-right liberal and libertarian ‘Freedom and Solidarity’ secured 42.5% of the vote to the social democratic ‘Voice’ Party nominee, Peter Pellegrini’s 37.0%. As no candidate reached a 50% majority, a runoff was scheduled between the two leading candidates on the 6th of April.

Surprisingly in the second round, Pellegrini won with 53.1% of the votes, running a campaign based on realist values, sympathising with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and being critical of the EU. During the campaign, Pellegrini accused Korčok of being a warmonger who wanted to send troops to Ukraine, which Korčok denied. Pellegrini also said that he was running for president “to rescue the government of [prime minister] Robert Fico.” Fico also openly supported Pellegrini, calling him “a moderate candidate who recognises the value of peace” and described Korčok as supporting “everything the West tells him without hesitation.”

The outcome of this election means pro-Russian Robert Fico will remain in the post of prime minister without great hindrance from the president, formerly the pro-Ukranian, Zuzana Čaputová.



Presidential elections were held in Lithuania on 12th May 2024, with the incumbent President Nauseda being re-elected to a second term in the second round of voting, with a landslide 76% of the vote – the largest margin of victory for any presidential candidate in the history of Lithuania. Nauseda is popular across all socio-professional categories, with no serious challenger. His campaign focussed on the substantial military, financial and humanitarian support provided to Ukraine. He has also called for an international tribunal to judge Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, and has welcomed Belarusian refugees fleeing the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko. He has also boosted the country’s defence budget, which now stands at 2.5% of GDP. “Lithuania is more secure than ever before in the face of external threats” he declared, clearly to the approval of the electorate.

While the candidates agreed on defence, they shared diverging views on Lithuania’s relations with China, which have been strained for years over Taiwan. China, which considers self-ruled Taiwan a part of its territory, downgraded diplomatic relations with Vilnius and blocked its exports, leading some Lithuanian politicians to urge a restoration of relations for the sake of the economy.

Both candidates, however, agree that the NATO and EU member of 2.8 million people should boost defence spending to counter the perceived threat from Russia, and to that end the government recently proposed a tax increase.

“With the re-election of Gitanas Nausėda, we will see continuity in foreign and security policy, areas where the president will try to remain active,” Rima Urbonaite, a political analyst at Mykolas Romeris university, commented.

North Macedonia

The presidential election was held in North Macedonia on 24th April 2024. The president is selected by using a modified two round system, whereby if no one candidate exceeds 50% of the vote in the first round, the two candidates with most votes go into the second round, and for the second round to be considered legitimate, turnout must exceed 40% of the electorate.

Conservative-backed Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, a 70-year-old law professor, was declared the winner after receiving nearly 65% support with more than two-thirds of the vote counted in a presidential runoff. She was backed by the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, which made sweeping gains on popular discontent over the country’s slow path toward European Union membership and its sluggish economy. The ruling SDU party suffered historic losses. The elections came amid a two-year standoff between the government and the opposition over how to deal with neighbouring Bulgaria blocking its path to EU membership. Siljanovska-Davkova and the VMRO-DPMNE said North Macedonia – which had to change its name in 2018 from Macedonia to settle a separate long-running dispute with Greece – will not be pushed around on the issue. In 2001, NATO alliance pulled North Macedonia, then called “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” back from the brink of civil war during an ethnic Albanian insurgency, and the country was promised faster integration into both the EU and NATO. It joined NATO in 2020.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted that the elections were generally competitive and well run but that there was also considerable ‘negative rhetoric and increasingly nationalistic undertones’ which was ‘extremely worrying.’ They added ‘we hope that going forward, North Macedonia will continue to strengthen its democracy.’ The country demonstrates signs of political polarisation and fragmentation, especially with its declared goal of EU membership.



The governing Mongolian People’s Party retained a slim majority in the country’s parliament with the opposition Democratic Party making major gains. Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai said, after winning 68 seats in the 126-seat body, “we have won the election,” despite some viewing the result as a setback. Tallies by Mongolian media indicated the opposition Democratic Party won 42 seats – a big jump from 2020 as opposition parties capitalised on voter discontent and cut into the governing party’s majority. “Through this election, people gave their evaluation on the past policy mistakes of the ruling party,” said Democratic Party leader Gantumur Luvsannyam. Julian Dierkes, a Mongolia expert at the University of British Columbia, said the Democratic Party’s strong performance showed a desire for a change in personnel, but not in policy. 

The results of the Democratic Party were seen as somewhat surprising, given it had endured a largely unimpressive campaign, and was plagued by internal factionalism. Conversely, the collapse of the Mongolian People’s Party was largely due to the unpopularity of its leading figures, but also owing to economic and ethical concerns by the electorate. Corruption scandals have eroded confidence in the government and political parties, whilst other major issues for voters including unemployment and inflation in an economy rocked first by the COVID-19 pandemic and then by the fallout from the war in Ukraine, have reinforced voters’ negative perceptions. Whilst there was a somewhat depressed youth turnout, the election marks the first time that five to six parties are represented in parliament reflecting a “new page” in Mongolian democracy, as Luvsannamsrai acknowledged.


The centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party won the latest Bulgarian elections, but no one, least of all the party’s veteran leader, Boyko Borisov, is celebrating. Despite winning the June 9 parliamentary elections with nearly 25 percent of the vote, the support for Borisov’s party is dwindling. Frequently accused of corruption and cronyism, GERB received just 530,000 votes, its weakest electoral performance in history. There are now only 68 GERB deputies in Bulgaria’s 240-seat unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, one fewer than in the previous parliament and a far cry from the 100 seats it held during its strongest years. GERB is also shy of the 80 seats needed to block constitutional amendments or veto key appointments.

While not particularly popular among Bulgarians, Borisov has always done just enough to keep his party in power. The 65-year-old politician, who has been prime minister three times since 2009, has been the most prominent and influential Bulgarian politician over the last decade and a half. A populist, he is a skilled political broker in Sofia and Brussels, distributing money and power to the extent that he has been accused of capturing Bulgaria’s state institutions. Under Borisov, Bulgaria fell lower in the Transparency International Corruption Index and the Reporters Without Borders free media index. Corruption remains pervasive and deep-rooted, with society at the mercy of influence by powerful oligarchs and the Kremlin.

An obvious choice for GERB would be an alliance with the liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), led by Delyan Peevski, which traditionally represents Bulgaria’s ethnic Turk and Muslim populations. DPS has become the second-biggest party in parliament, with a record 47 seats, and has more political heft than ever before, making them indispensable for GERB. The two parties do not have any significant ideological differences and have worked together in recent years, challenging the reformist We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB) coalition and making joint pledges to voters. Borisov, however, is wary of the DPS and Peevski. For many Bulgarians, the DPS is seen as a political instrument of the mafia, with its founder, Ahmed Dogan, accused of being an agent for the communist secret police. Borisov has been here before. He has been politically isolated since the elections of April 2021, when he lost the prime minister’s post. But his options now look more limited than ever. If he can’t form a government, he would have to call early elections once again, and those would be Bulgaria’s seventh in the last three years.


Halla Tomasdottir, a businesswoman and investor, won Iceland’s presidential election, topping a crowded field of candidates in which the top three finishers were women. Tomasdottir, 55, was elected to the largely ceremonial post with 34.3% of the vote, defeating former Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, with 25.2%, and Halla Hrund Logadottir, with 15.5%, RUV said on Sunday. Iceland’s president holds a largely ceremonial position in the parliamentary republic, acting as a guarantor of the constitution and national unity. He or she, however, has the power to veto a legislation or submit it to a referendum. 

Tomasdottir campaigned as someone who was above party politics and could help open discussions on fundamental issues such as the effect of social media on the mental health of young people, Iceland’s development as a tourist destination and the role of artificial intelligence. While Jakobsdottir was at times seen as the favourite, political observers had suggested that her background as prime minister, and an extensive domestic policy record, could weigh against her.

San Marino

Finally, in the tiny Italian enclave, San Marino did not lurch from one ideology to another. Rather, the incumbent centre-right Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party (PDCS) increased its share of the seats from 21 to 22, whilst the main opposition in the form of the Libera/SD coalition (a social democratic group) fell from 14 seats to 10. Unlike many other elections in Europe there was not a hard right or hard left party gaining significant traction, despite the Solidarity Democracy Party, basing its ideology in vaccine scepticism and democratic socialism, fielding 18 candidates – none of whom won.

Plenty of incredible results from across the globe from elections of all types – teeing up what is likely to be an exciting year from July onwards. For politicos, the data being produced by these elections is nothing short of wonderful. In this ‘mega election year’, as some have coined it, expectations are high – the excitement (and trepidation) is higher.

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