By Dalibor Rohac and Nouh El-Harmouzi

Campaigners for Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the 76-year old Algerian president who is seeking re-election for a fourth consecutive term, promise “broad democracy” if their candidate wins. After decades of oppression and authoritarianism, Algerians have little reason to believe them. Continue reading »

Kiska (left) and Fico: victory of the underdog?

By Tom Nicholson of bne in Bratislava

It’s been over a decade since Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been an underdog in any election. But his assertive campaign to capture the country’s highest office – the presidency – in the March 29 crucial run-off ballot suddenly looks vulnerable to the challenge of a rank political outsider. Continue reading »

The hotly contested Honduran election still hasn’t yielded a final official result. But maybe it’s not too soon to spot some lessons Mexico might offer the Central American state.

They boil down to: “Amlo” vs “Pacto”Continue reading »

By Clare Nuttall of bne

Unsurprisingly, Emomali Rakhmon, Tajikistan’s president, has been re-elected for a fourth term with an overwhelming majority, preliminary results of this week’s flawed election showed on Thursday.

While Tajikistan may be the poorest country of the former Soviet Union, its importance is set to grow. The region is preparing for the withdrawal of Nato troops from neighbouring Afghanistan in 2014, China is battling with Russia to increase its influence, and the Tajik government is pressing on with plans for a giant dam that could inflame tensions in an already jittery part of the world where water is an increasingly precious resource. Continue reading »

Masked men storming polling stations, assaulting officials and voters and throwing gas bombs; ballot boxes disappearing; international observers fleeing for their safety; an atmosphere of intimidation. Sunday’s local elections in Kosovo were not quite the affirmation of new-found inter-ethnic cooperation and free and fair democracy the European Union had hoped for. Serbia will wish to disassociate itself from the violence swiftly, lest it prove a setback to its budding hopes of EU accession, and the investment related to it. Continue reading »

Nobody seriously doubted that Ilham Aliyev would be re-elected for a third term as president of Azerbaijan in Wednesday’s poll. Indeed, Aliyev was so confident of victory, which he took with a resounding 84.55 per cent of the vote, that he did not even bother to campaign. “The fact that this election was free and transparent is another serious step towards democracy,” he said.

Camil Hasanli, the main opposition leader, cried foul and described the election as an exercise in vote-rigging. Despite representing a coalition of some 20 opposition parties, the 61-year-old historian received only 5.53 percent of the vote. Continue reading »

As Zimbabweans prepare to vote in Wednesday’s fiercely contested election, their neighbours in South Africa will be watching closely. Its outcome will set the scene for the development of trade and investment between the two countries. Continue reading »

By Russell Holden and Randeep Grewal of Taylor Wessing LLP

It has been dubbed the world’s greatest election – a poll staggered over a month involving approximately 780m voters and 250,000 security personnel. In a year’s time, India will have voted for its 16th democratically elected government since independence from Britain. As expected, the main political parties are already jockeying for position among the considerable bank of rural class voters. However, this election campaign is showing early signs of the increased importance of the middle classes in Indian politics. Both the ruling Congress party and its main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, appear to recognise that the impact of appealing to professionals and entrepreneurs through talk of improving corporate governance and pro-growth policies may be as great as the traditional focus on rural India. Continue reading »

Waiting for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, to call a much-anticipated general election is getting to be painful.

First it was to have been called at the beginning of the month. This would have meant polling in the last week of March, a convenient time since schools are out and classrooms are often used as polling stations in Malaysia. Continue reading »

From London’s Boris Johnson to New York’s Michael Bloomberg, city governors and mayors around the world have proven their roles are as much about power politics and money as they are about getting stuff done.

In Thailand, last week’s hard-fought election for Bangkok’s governor was a battle fought on promises of change – most of which cannot be delivered, say analysts. But what really lay behind the fight was the struggle for power in Thailand between the two main political parties. All the votes are in, but it’s not over yet. Continue reading »

By Christian Lewis and Shaun Levine of Eurasia

The government is unlikely to be unseated in Malaysia’s upcoming parliamentary election, which is good news for the business environment. A win by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will eliminate most investors’ concerns about instability that have recently contributed to market volatility.

That said, given the complexities of Malaysian politics, a reduced margin of victory for the incumbent could still impact the speed with which BN’s ambitious reforms are introduced. Continue reading »

A caretaker government in Sofia will do its utmost to steady the tiller before May’s snap elections, following several weeks of street protests that toppled the previous administration and plunged Bulgaria into political uncertainty. But what happens after the poll is anybody’s guess. Many in Sofia’s political elite seem reluctant to grasp the poisoned chalice of leadership and their capacity to satisfy the demands of a restive and inchoate popular movement is limited.

On Wednesday, President Rosen Plevneliev ended weeks of speculation by naming Marin Raykov, Bulgaria’s ambassador to France, as caretaker prime minister until the May 12 elections. Continue reading »

The race for Kenya’s presidency is heading to a nail-biting finish as the front-runner’s lead fades away and the votes counted show the decision going to a run-off for the first time since counting began four days ago.

With around 80 per cent of the constituencies declared, the early lead held by deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta has fallen away, slipping just below the 50 per cent mark needed to secure an outright win. His rival, prime minister Raila Odinga, is trailing with 44 per cent of the vote but results trickling in from Odinga strongholds are closing the gap. With 20 per cent of ballot papers left to count, the outcome could go either way. Continue reading »

A failure of electronic vote counting systems has delayed the announcement of preliminary results for the Kenyan presidential elections and caused a sharp drop in the value of the shilling.

The Kenyan currency had strengthened over the past week and remained steady during the election. But in the face of uncertainty over the outcome of the vote on Wednesday it fell 1.5 per cent against the US dollar, reaching 86.75 by the end of the day. Continue reading »

As policy making in Indonesia becomes subordinated to capricious electioneering ahead of national polls in 2014, the economic challenges are getting tougher.

Chatib Basri, head of the government’s investment coordinating board (BKPM), likes to call his country the “least unattractive market in the world” at the moment, with strong domestic demand keeping GDP growth above 6 per cent despite a range of macro-economic concerns. But the latest inflation and trade data released on Friday point to the risk that Indonesia could become more unattractive to investors. Continue reading »