By Surbhi Mahajan
Evariste Ndayishimiye, a retired general, won the presidential election held in May 2020, securing 68.72% of the vote. The elections allegedly took place in a highly repressive environment (reported killings, arrests of opposition leaders, voter intimidation) with no independent international observers.
By Lilly Biddell
Egypt’s Senate elections were held on 11th and 12th August, with run-offs taking place on 8th and 9th September.
Turnout was low in both rounds - 14.23% in the first round, and 10.22% in the second round. A total of 74 of the 100 constituency seats were won in the first round, while 26 held run-off elections in September between the top two candidates in the constituencies. Out of the 74 determined constituency seats in the first round, 68 went to the Nation's Future Party, which has extremely close connections to members in the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The Republican People's Party, another pro-government party, won five seats, and one seat went to an independent candidate. The Nation's Future Party won 20 constituency seats in the second round, with 5 seats going to independent candidates and one to the Republican People's Party.
Egypt has a bicameral parliament with legislated quotas at the sub-national level. Egyptian women were granted the right to vote and run for office in 1956. Article 180 of the new Constitution reserves one quarter of the seats for women in the elected local councils.
Women’s Political Participation
Women’s participation in Egyptian politics has been low and no woman has been elected president. In 2012, Buthaina Kamel made history by becoming the first female presidential candidate in the country’s modern history, and in 2017 Nadia Ahmed Abdou became the first woman to be appointed governor.
Whilst women were appointed to the special committee responsible for drafting the new Constitution of 2014, they only represented 10% of the 50 members. And following elections and a military coup, women have faced gender-based violence and repression. As of 2015, 15% of seats in the People’s Assembly are held by women. There is still no official data on women’s participation in the 2020 Senate elections.
In 2013, Egypt was found to be the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widely practiced in Egypt and sexual harrassment is rife. However the government has taken steps to address these issues: in 2013, a Unit on Monitoring Crimes of Violence Against Women was set up in response to the rising number of attacks and sexual assaults, and in 2014, Decree no. 50 came into effect reforming the penal code and broadening the definition of harassment and sexual harassment.
With respect to achieving gender parity in decision making bodies, Egypt has moved away from a quota system that had a specific number of seats reserved for women in both national and local bodies, to one where the quota is only maintained at the local level.
Women in Egypt have been and continue to be overlooked in decision-making processes. Underlying sociocultural barriers and gender-based discrimination result in political parties not encouraging the participation of female candidates. Another challenge is that a large portion of the population, both men and women, largely discount the idea of a female head of state and some Islamist parties reject the notion on religious grounds. So it is social norms and traditions that are continuing to prevent women from achieving decision-making positions in Egypt.
By Lilly Biddell
Guinea-Bissau’s Presidential Election initially took place on November 24th 2019, contested by 12 male candidates. No candidate received a majority of the vote, and incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz finished fourth. A run-off vote was held on December 29th between Simoes Pereira and Umaro Sissoco Embaló, both ex-prime ministers of the country. Embaló beat Pereira by 54% to 46% and was inaugurated on February 27th 2020. Pereira, from Guinea-Bissau’s traditional ruling party, the PAIGC - the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde - denounced the score as a fraud, asking the court to order a re-vote. The four-month dispute over the results ended in April 2020 when ECOWAS - the Economic Community of West African States - recognised Embaló as the winner of Guinea-Bissau’s presidential election. Embaló is the first president to be elected without the backing of the PAIGC.
By: Surbhi Mahajan
Wavel Ramkalawan, an Anglican priest, won presidency. This was the first opposition victory in four decades since independence from Britain. The election is also being hailed as “major milestone in Seychelles’s democracy”.
By Lily Biddell
Côte d’Ivoire’s Presidential Election took place on October 31st, 2020. The four candidates were incumbent President Alassane Oauttara, Henri Konan Bedie, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, and Kouadio Konan Bertin. Ouattara was re-elected for a third term in office after garnering 94.27% of the vote despite a turnout of 53.9%. However, opposition parties claimed Ouattara violated the constitution, and they urged their supporters to boycott the election and stay at home as an act of civil disobedience. On November 7th opposition leader and former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan was placed under arrest for creating a rival transitional government. On November 9th, President Ouattara’s win was officially validated.