International Elections and Leaders: August 2019 Update

Greece's newly elected Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is sworn-in at the presidential palace in Athens on July 8, 2019. Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images.

The REIGN Dataset (Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance) covers political conditions in every country each and every month. We update the data set monthly to reflect the most recent political events, such as coups, world elections, and changes in political leadership. We also provide monthly election coverage and track leadership changes in a series of updates called International Elections and Leaders.

This update provides a quick overview of electoral and leadership changes for the previous month. For an in-depth examination of election events occurring between May and August, check out our bimonthly analysis providing political context for all election events taking place around the globe.

International Elections

One election to determine the new chief executive took place in July.

Europe

Greece held its snap election on July 7th. A snap election was called in May after previous prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party performed poorly in local and EU elections earlier this year. The main center-right opposition party known as New Democracy more than doubled its number of seats and achieved a governing majority after gaining 39.85 percent of the vote.

New Leaders

Six new leaders took power in the month of July.

Europe

Kyriakos Mitsotakis took over as prime minister of Greece on July 8th. Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party was able to secure a governing majority immediately following the election, allowing for a quick government formation. It would be a good idea to keep an eye on Greek politics for the near future. Mitsotakis will need to address difficult economic issues such as employment and government spending alongside escalating tensions with Turkey regarding Northern Cyprus.

Gitanas Nauseda was sworn in as president of Lithuania on July 12th. Nauseda, an economist by trade, is a political debutant whose policy platform revolves around creating cross-party deals aimed at addressing rising income inequality. Nauseda’s position does not allow him to craft policy unilaterally, and he will need to work with any incoming legislative coalition to achieve his platform goals.

The presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina rotated to Željko Komšić on July 20th. The presidency rotates between representatives of each of the nation’s three dominant ethnic groups: the Bosniaks, the Serbs, and the Croats. Komšić is the Croatian representative and will serve an eight-month term before the next rotation. Komšić has conflicted with fellow presidency member Milorad Dodik, the Serbian representative, over policies regarding infrastructure on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Komšić will seek to pressure the presidency of Croatia into solving long-standing economic and infrastructure conflicts experienced on the border between the two countries.

Boris Johnson assumed the office of prime minister of the United Kingdom on July 24th following a vote by the Conservative Party. The biggest challenge expected to be faced by Johnson will be the upcoming hard BREXIT deadline later in October. His biggest concerns will be striking a deal with the parties of Northern Ireland over a no-deal BREXIT option and keeping his Conservative majority during a turbulent political period.

The Americas

Laurentino Cortizo assumed the office of the presidency of Panama on July 1st. Cortizo won a close race and will have a mandate until 2024. His initial priorities will be to tackle government corruption and to address economic inequality in the country. Longer-term goals will be focused on government reform more broadly regarding constitutional law and government spending.

Middle East and North Africa

Finally, Mohamed Ennaceur became acting president of Tunisia following the passing of President Beji Caid Essebsi. Essebsi was the first president to be freely elected in Tunisian history and is seen as a guiding figure for the country’s transition to democracy. Ennaceur will remain a steward until early elections are held on September 15th.

Elections to Watch in August

Two key elections are set to be held in the month of August. Guatemala will hold a presidential runoff round on August 11th, and Nauru will hold a parliamentary election on August 24th.

Interested in more election coverage? Visit the REIGN Dataset page, or read the most recent update on international elections and leaders. 

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