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Ten Elections to Watch in 2021

Source: Council of Foreign Affairs | by James M. Lindsay

  1. Ethiopian Parliamentary Elections, 2021.

Ethiopians were supposed to go to the polls this past August. That vote was postponed, however, ostensibly because of COVID-19. If the vote is held in 2021, it will take place amid considerable turmoil. In late 2019, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed merged the ruling government coalition into a single political party. It includes nearly every major ethnic party except for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF, which dominated Ethiopian politics before Abiy took office, refused to join. In September, Tigray, which accounts for 6 percent of Ethiopia’s population, defied the federal government and held regional elections. Two months later, Abiy claimed that Tigrayans had attacked a military base. He ordered military retaliation in response and quickly claimed that federal control had been reestablished over Tigray. Fighting has continued, however, and some 50,000 Tigrayans have been displaced. Meanwhile, ethnic violence is rising elsewhere in Ethiopia. Abiy was once seen as a leader who would bring stability and prosperity to Ethiopia—he was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Now he looks to have turned in an autocratic direction by detaining opposition leaders and suppressing political freedoms. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee went so far as to rebuke him, saying it was “deeply concerned” by the situation in Tigray.

2. Ecuadoran General Election, February 7.

3. Dutch General Election, March 17.

4. Peruvian General Election, April 11.

5. Iraqi Parliamentary Elections, June 6.

6. Iranian Presidential Election, June 18.

7. Zambian General Election, August 12

8. Hong Kong Legislative Council Elections, September 5.

9. German Federal Election, September 26.

10. Nicaraguan General Election, November 7.