International Elections and Leaders: November 2019 Update

Supporters of Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales and locals discontented with the political situation march during a protest, following the incumbent president's resignation. Photo: RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

The REIGN Dataset (Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance) covers political conditions in every country each and every month. We update the dataset 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. 

International Elections

Nine elections to determine a new chief executive took place in October.


Argentina held its general election on October 27. Center-left candidate Alberto Fernández won the presidential election against incumbent Mauricio Macri after receiving 48 percent of the vote. One should expect Fernández to shift Argentinian regional policy in a different direction while also navigating relationships with the United States and China. 

Bolivia held its general election on October 20. Incumbent president Evo Morales retained the presidency and narrowly avoided a run-off round against rival Carlos Mesa after receiving 47 percent of the vote. However, the election results have been strongly contested by Bolivia’s opposition groups. Peculiarities in the final vote tallies and charges of improper behavior by election authorities have raised the specter of potential election interference. This has resulted in continuous protests and post-election violence. Keep an eye on Bolivia as the post-election landscape continues to develop. 

Canada held its federal election on October 21. Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party were able to maintain their government even after losing 20 seats. The Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois made the most electoral gains but were unable to unseat Trudeau’s government, even after several scandals put Trudeau’s campaign in question during the lead-up to the election. Regardless, the Liberals’ new status as a minority government means that they will need to work more closely with other parties to maintain stability.

Uruguay held its general election on October 27. Daniel Martínez of the ruling liberal Broad Front party and Luis Lacalle Pou of the center-right National Party received 40 percent and 29 percent of the presidential vote, respectively. As a result, a run-off round to determine a final winner will be held on November 24. Keep an eye on Uruguay later this month as it determines its next political leader. 

Sub-Saharan Africa 

Botswana held its general election on October 23. Incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi retained the presidency after receiving 52 percent of the vote and continuing the Botswana Democratic Party’s monopoly on leadership since independence. However, the election might have been the most competitive in the country’s electoral history. Botswana is one of the most unequal countries in the world, and economic growth has slowed considerably and opposition has gained traction as a result. The results could be a source of optimism, though. The election was peaceful and the political landscape remains stable. Greater electoral competition may help to push governmental reforms regarding economic growth, wealth inequality, and human rights over the next decade.  

Mozambique held its general election on October 15. Incumbent president Filipe Nyusi comfortably retained his position after receiving 73 percent of the vote. The election is seen as a test of the peace deal between the ruling FRELIMO party and the former rebel group/now opposition group RENAMO. The election experienced sporadic election-related violence and the results have been questioned by both RENAMO and EU election observers. The election was always going to be contentious, but controversy surrounding the conduct of election authorities may prove to be a problem for enduring peace. Keep an eye on Mozambique as it navigates this historic election outcome over the next few months. 


Kosovo held its snap parliamentary election on October 6. Early elections were called after the legislative assembly voted to dissolve parliament following the resignation of prime minister Ramush Haradinaj after he was summoned for questioning by the Hague. A coalition government between the top two parties, the leftist Vetevendosje and center-right Democratic League of Kosovo, is expected to be confirmed soon. The new government will need to tackle issues related to corruption and lack of economic opportunity. 

Switzerland held its federal election on October 20. The Swiss People’s Party retained its status as the party with the most seats, but the Swiss Green Party and the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland made the biggest electoral gains. Now the parties will need to figure out how to divide the seven seats on the federal cabinet that serves as a collective executive body for the state. It is likely that the two green parties will pool their seats to claim one of these seven cabinet positions. 

Middle East and North Africa 

Tunisia concluded its presidential election with a run-off round held on October 13. As expected, independent candidate Kais Saied won comfortably with 72 percent of the vote. Saied, a former constitutional law professor, is seen as a straight-shooter who will tackle corruption and transition the country from the old entrenched authoritarian regime to a more decentralized democratic system.

New Leaders

Four new leaders took power in the month of October.

San Marino held its biannual changing of the Captains Regent. Luca Boschi and Mariella Mularoni will hold the diarchic executive office until April 2020. Mularoni is the 18th woman to become a Captains Regent since the practice started in 1243. 

Belgium’s caretaker Prime Minister Charles Michel stepped aside to hand his position to Sophie Wilmes. Wilmes is breaking new political ground as Belgium’s first female prime minister, and will continue as caretaker leader until a new formal government coalition is approved after a contentious election last May. 

King Tupou VI of Tonga announced his acceptance of a legislative vote making Pohiva Tu‘i‘onetoa prime minister. Tu‘i‘onetoa, an accountant and civil servant, was first elected to the legislative assembly in 2014. His ascension to the premiership came after previous leader ʻAkilisi Pōhiva passed away during his tenure. 

Finally, Kais Saied was sworn in as president of Tunisia on October 24. As discussed above, Saied is a straight-shooting social conservative who hopes to tackle corruption and uphold Tunisia’s trajectory towards democratic rule. 

Elections to Watch in November

November will be a busy month for elections with eight national electoral events regarding leadership or political change scheduled to be held. 

Guinea-Bissau will hold a presidential election on November 24. The Marshall Islands will hold a general election on November 18. Namibia will hold a general election on November 27. Papua New Guinea will begin holding a two-week-long referendum on Bougainvillean independence on November 23.  Uruguay will conclude its presidential election on November 24. Spain will hold a snap general election on November 10. Romania will hold a presidential election on November 10. Finally, Sri Lanka will hold a presidential election on November 16. 

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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