European Parliament (EP) elections were held between 22 and 25 May. Across the 28 member-states the centre-right European People’s Party won the most seats, but came up well short of a majority. Representatives from the Roughly a quarter of all seats went to parties skeptical of the EU (or protest parties), thus, the election was seen as anti-establishment. In case you wondered, the Treaty of Lisbon dictates the composition of the 750 (plus commissioner) members be degressively proportional (similar to the U.S. electoral college) with a minimum six members per State and no State with more than ninety-six seats. The main political groups in the EU have backed the right of Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next head of the European Commission,but in light of the election results he may not be appointed by the European Council. He has stated his priorities would be the creation of a digital single market, the development of an EU energy union, the negotiation of the Transatlantic trade agreement, the continued reform of the economic and monetary union, with the social dimension in mind and a ‘targeted fiscal capacity’ for the Euro area, as well as to negotiate a new deal with Britain.
Parliamentary elections were held in late April, and resulted in a resounding victory for the incumbent prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki (the 328 members elect the prime minister and president). The certification of the election result by the Supreme Court opened the door for government formation: The Iraqi president (or his acting deputy) must issue a call for the Iraqi parliament to convene within 15 days, i.e. at the end of June. Theoretically, parliament will then elect its speaker, and, within a month, a new president who will then charge the candidate of the largest bloc in parliament to form a government. Just days later the fragile security in Iraq begun to crumble. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) militant forces took over multiple major cities in a few days when security forces fled upon being attacked. Driven by the perception that the current Shi’ite led government is anti-Sunni bolstered by fighters seasoned in the Syrian conflict, the newest developments could send Iraq into full-fledged civil war, especially as the Kurds were already on a path to secession. The US has offered some assistance (advisors) and in a unique turn of events Iran (predominantly Shi’ite) is on the same side of the US for once.
The disputed election is meant to mark the first democratic transition in the country’s history. The winner is supposed to succeed President Hamid Karzai, who has ruled Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, and a smooth transition of power is crucial for the continuation of Western aid that props up the Afghan economy and security forces. In the election’s first round (April), Mr. Abdullah, a former foreign minister and mujahedeen leader, came in first against Mr. Ghani, a former U.S. citizen with a doctorate in anthropology and international politics. While no official results have been announced for the June 14 runoff, both campaigns say Mr. Ghani appears to have swung into the lead. Mr. Abdullah’s supporters claim large-scale fraud, especially in the provinces of eastern Afghanistan that are Mr. Ghani’s power base. Mr. Abdullah demanded that another round of the elections be carried out in the parts of the country with the most suspicious results, but Mr. Amarkhil says a third round isn’t something permissible under Afghan law.
Indian parliamental elections were held from 7 April to 12 May 2014 and it was called the biggest in the world with almost 2 billion people voting. A new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, won a sweeping victory. Of note, Mr. Modi had previously been refused a visa to the United States (rescinded now that he is a head of state). Modi is a Hindu Nationalist and a controversial figure both within India as well as internationally as his administration has been criticized for the incidents surrounding the 2002 Gujarat riots.
A presidential election in Egypt took place between 26 and 28 May 2014. There were only two candidates, former Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisiand Egyptian Popular Current candidate Hamdeen Sabahi. The elections came almost a year after the June 2013 protests that prompted el-Sisi to depose Egypt’s then president Mohamed Morsi. The elections, which were planned to take place for two days were extended to a third day. Over 25-million people (approx. 48%) voted in the elections, with el-Sisi winning with almost 97%.
Presidential elections were held in Syria on 3 June 2014 despite the ongoing civil war (the first multi-candidate elections in decades since the Ba’ath party came to power in a coup). Some opposition groups boycotted the election, and the vote did not take place in large parts of Syria under rebel or Kurdish militia control. Although international observers issued a statement saying the elections were “free, fair and transparent, it was widely reported that the elections lacked independent election monitoring.