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2018 at the polling booth

Here’s a quick look at some of the key elections.

2018 saw many political upheavals all over the world. In India, eight States got new governments. Egypt held a democratic ‘only in name’ election, as Abdel Fattah El-Sisi contested against Moussa Moustafa Moussa, a pro-Sisi candidate. In the U.S., Democrats regained control of the House, while the Republicans kept the Senate in midterm elections. Here’s a quick look at some of the key elections.

Elections in India

By-elections

The Lok Sabha saw many by-elections this year, beginning with two in Rajasthan and one in West Bengal. The West Bengal seat was held by the Trinamool Congress, while the Congress wrangled two seats in Rajasthan from the BJP. Later in the year, an SP-BSP combine defeated the BJP in two constituencies in Uttar Pradesh — Gorakhpur and Phulpur — while the RJD kept its hold on the Araria constituency in Bihar.

With the bypolls in May for four seats, the BJP lost its absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. Two seats were wrested away by the RLD in Uttar Pradesh, and one by the NCP in Maharashtra. In the Karnataka bypolls that took place in November, the BJP retained its seat in Shivamogga.

Rajya Sabha elections

Elections to as many as 59 Rajya Sabha seats were held across various States on March 23. For the first time, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha, thus increasing the number of NDA members in the Upper House to 87. The ruling coalition is still short of majority in the 245-member House of Elders.

Assembly elections

2018 at the polling booth

 

Karnataka

Polling date: May 12, 2018

Number of seats: 224

It was a nail-biting finish for the Karnataka Assembly elections, which witnessed a three-cornered fight. While the BJP emerged as the single largest party, Congress, which came second, announced its unconditional support to the JD(S) to form a government. Things weren’t easy for the Congress-JD(S) combine. The Governor invited the BJP to form the government, even though the coalition claimed to have the support of the majority of legislators.

On the day that a floor test was scheduled, BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa, who had been appointed as Chief Minister resigned from his post. The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) came together to form a coalition government with H.D. Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister. Mr. Kumaraswamy breezed through a vote of confidence as BJP members walked out of the Assembly.

Tripura

Polling date: February 18, 2018

Number of seats: 60

After 25 years, the CPI(M) lost its hold on the northeastern State, with the BJP winning a thumping majority. Biplab Kumar Deb became the Chief Minister of Tripura. The BJP won 35 of the 59 seats to which elections were held on February 18. Its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, won eight seats, taking the tally to 43. The CPI(M), which won 49 seats in 2013, had to be satisfied with 16. Polling in Charilam constituency was postponed due to the demise of the CPI(M) candidate. However, that seat also went to the BJP after the March 12 election.

Nagaland

Polling date: February 27, 2018

Number of seats: 60

Elections were held in 59 out of 60 constituencies in Nagaland, and Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) was elected unopposed from Northern Angami II. Mr. Rio went on to become the Chief Minister of the State after NDPP forged an alliance with the BJP. The BJP was part of the Nagaland People’s Front (NPF)-led government in Nagaland till the Assembly elections but parted ways to join hands with the newly-formed NDPP.

National People’s Party’s Agatha Sangma (left) and James Sangma (centre), and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma celebrate on March 3, 2018 their victory in the Assembly elections. Photos: PTI, Special Arrangement

National People’s Party’s Agatha Sangma (left) and James Sangma (centre), and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma celebrate on March 3, 2018 their victory in the Assembly elections. Photos: PTI, Special Arrangement  

 

Meghalaya

Polling date: February 27, 2018

Number of seats: 60

At the beginning of the year, the elections in Meghalaya was a direct contest between the national players — the Congress and BJP. As days passed, it became a multi-cornered fight with the United Democratic Party (UDP) and National People’s Party (NPP) turning rivals. As the results were finally announced on March 3, the electorate of Meghalaya gave a fractured verdict with the Congress emerging as the single largest party by winning 21 seats. Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) finished second with 19 seats.

The next day, a rainbow coalition of non-Congress parties including the NPP, the BJP, United Democratic Party, and Hill State People’s Democratic Party joined hands to form the government with Mr. Sangma as the Chief Minister.

Mizoram

Polling date: November 28, 2018

Number of seats: 40

The Congress lost its lone government in the northeastern region, by losing the elections to the Mizo National Front (MNF). The MNF president Zoramthanga was sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister, beginning his third stint at the helm of the State. The BJP, for the first time, bagged a seat in Mizoram.

A defining moment in national politics The Congress emerged victorious, defeating the BJP, in the Assembly elections in the three politically crucial Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which account for 65 seats in the Lok Sabha. Party workers celebrate the victory at the Congress headquarters in Thane on December 12, 2018. Photo: Vibhav Birwatkar Vibhav Birwatkar

A defining moment in national politics The Congress emerged victorious, defeating the BJP, in the Assembly elections in the three politically crucial Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which account for 65 seats in the Lok Sabha. Party workers celebrate the victory at the Congress headquarters in Thane on December 12, 2018. Photo: Vibhav Birwatkar Vibhav Birwatkar
 

 

Chhattisgarh

Polling dates: November 12 & 20, 2018

Number of seats: 90

Ending 15 years of BJP’s rule, the Congress won an absolute majority in Chhattisgarh by bagging 58 seats. The newly-formed Janata Congress Chattisgarh headed by former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi opened its account with five seats. The election was a shocker to the BSP too, since it secured only two seats. Bhupesh Baghel was sworn in as the Chief Minister, with other chief ministerial candidates T.S. Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu getting important portfolios.

Rajasthan

Polling date: December 7, 2018

Number of seats: 200

Elections were held for 199 seats of the Rajasthan Assembly, of which the Congress emerged victorious in 99 constituencies. With the support from Independents — who were former Congress leaders who contested elections on their own after being denied the party ticket — Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot were sworn in as Rajasthan’s Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively.

Madhya Pradesh

Polling date: November 28, 2018

Number of seats: 230

The BJP lost another State in the Hindi heartland, with Congress forming the government in Madhya Pradesh. After a marathon counting session that lasted almost 24 hours, the Congress won 114 seats and the BJP came a close second with 109. The BSP and the SP, extended their support to the Congress in an attempt to keep the BJP from forming a government. However, the Congress extended the olive branch to the Independents and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath became the Chief Minister. Mr. Nath didn’t contest the election. He will have to be elected to the Assembly within six months.

The Election Commission is deploying eye-catching awareness material across Hyderabad to get voters to the polling booth.

The Election Commission is deploying eye-catching awareness material across Hyderabad to get voters to the polling booth.
 
| Photo Credit:
G. Ramakrishna

 

Telangana

Polling date: December 7, 2018

Number of seats: 119

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao dissolved the State Legislative Assembly six months in advance and called for an early election. Riding on high with a slew of welfare schemes and mega irrigation projects, and the charismatic leadership of Mr. Rao, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) retained power with a landslide victory.

The Congress-led rainbow alliance, called Praja Kutami (People’s Front) that includes the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI), came a cropper. While the TRS won in 88 of the 119 constituencies, the Congress secured 19 seats and the TDP emerged victorious in just two constituencies. The TJS and the CPI drew a blank.

Elections around the world

U.S. Midterms

In the midterm elections to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Democrats secured a majority by defeating the Republicans with a 6.5% point margin and achieved a 4.4% swing from the 2016 Presidential poll.

They gained substantially in the key swing States and made a dent in Republican strongholds. Democrats seized the House majority from President Donald Trump’s Republican Party in a suburban revolt that threatened what’s left on the President’s governing agenda. But the GOP gained ground in the Senate and preserved key governorships, beating back a “blue wave” that never fully materialised.

Pakistan

In this July 26, 2018 photo provided by the office of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, Pakistani politician Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, delivers his address in Islamabad, Pakistan.

In this July 26, 2018 photo provided by the office of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, Pakistani politician Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, delivers his address in Islamabad, Pakistan.
 
| Photo Credit:
AP

 

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan won the national elections in neighbouring Pakistan, the third consecutive election of a civilian government. Mr. Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party won 116 of 269 seats in the National Assembly. However, the election had its own share of controversies. There were allegations of rigging and military interference. The Lahore strongman and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was barred from constesting polls after he was convicted in a corruption case. A bomb blast in Quetta on July 25, the election day, killed over 30 people.

The PTI was several seats short of majority. A post-poll alliance was forged with several smaller parties including Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Balochistan Awami Party, the Grand Democratic Alliance and several independents. Mr. Khan became the Prime Minister on August 18.

Egypt

Egypt’s election was democratic only in name. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a former General who had ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013, was never expected to struggle to secure a second term. The vote was effectively rendered a one-horse race involving Mr. Sisi, as a number of opposition candidates were forced to withdraw from the contest. His lone challenger, a late entrant thrust forward to save the government from embarrassment, was someone who had declared himself a staunch supporter of the President’s bid for re-election.

Zimbabwe

In a post-Mugabe country, Mnangagwa received 50.8 % of the vote while main opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 %. While election day was peaceful in a break from the past, deadly violence against people protesting alleged vote-rigging reminded many Zimbabweans of the decades of military-backed repression under Mugabe.

Brazil

In this video still, National Social Liberal Party presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is carried away after being stabbed during a campaign rally in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

In this video still, National Social Liberal Party presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is carried away after being stabbed during a campaign rally in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.  
| Photo Credit:
AP

 

In electing retired army Captain Jair Bolsonaro as its President, Brazil chose to be governed by a man described as the “Trump of the Tropics”, after the 45th U.S. President, Donald Trump. Mr. Bolsonaro swept a runoff election over the weekend, winning nearly 55% of the vote to defeat the left-of-centre Fernando Haddad.

Mexico

Angry and frustrated over corruption and violence, Mexican voters delivered a tidal wave presidential election victory to leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, giving him a broad mandate to upend the political establishment and govern for the poor. Ending 89 years of government by the same two parties, Mr. López Obrador surged to victory in the July 1 elections promising a new approach to issues fuelling widespread outrage: crime, poverty and corruption.

Malaysia

Nonagenarian Mahathir Mohamad once again became the President of Malaysia ending the six-decade rule of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

Dr. Mahathir, who headed the Opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan, came out of retirement to take on Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has become embroiled in massive corruption scandal surrounding state fund 1MDB. In the May 10 elections, Dr. Mahathir’s coalition secured 115 seats surpassing the threshold of 112 seats needed in parliament to form a government.

Maldives

On fire: Supporters of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih celebrating his victory in Male on Monday. AP AP

On fire: Supporters of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih celebrating his victory in Male on Monday. AP AP
 

 

The much-anticipated presidential polls of Maldives were held on September 23 and the joint Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih emerged as the surprise winner. Elections were announced to the island archipelago after former President Mohamed Nasheed was debarred from contesting elections on "terror charges" and another former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was imprisoned. The then President Abdulla Yameen hardly had a rival till the little known Mr. Solih was announced as the joint opposition candidate.

Italy

In Italy, elections ended in a hung Parliament, but the election was a strong rejection of the incumbent, centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which has managed just 19% of the vote. After three months, the M5S, called the Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini’s League came to an agreement on coalition, and Guiseppe Conte became the Prime Minister.

Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the June 24 presidential election and said his ruling AK Party and its alliance partner had won a parliamentary majority. The June 24 vote ushered in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Mr. Erdogan and backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh polling officials empty the ballot boxes for counting after the voting ended at a polling station in Panam Nagar, on December 30, 2018.

Bangladesh polling officials empty the ballot boxes for counting after the voting ended at a polling station in Panam Nagar, on December 30, 2018.
 
| Photo Credit:
AP

 

One of the last general election of the year, Bangladesh national elections saw the ruling Awami League heading towards a landslide victory. This will be the third consecutive term for Sheikh Hasina, who has been in power since 2008. Unlike the 2013, where the Awami League won unopposed as key Opposition parties boycotted the elections, Ms. Hasina faced the Jatiyo Oikya Front, a grand coalition of several opposition parties headed by Kamal Hossain.

Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo voted using electronic voting machines for the first time. This is the third full-fledged election to the mineral rich African nation, which hit the news recently for the massive Ebola outbreak. Congo became multi-party democracy in 2006 with Joseph Kabila elected as its President. The 2011 elections were marred by large scale violence and allegations of rigging, with Mr. Kabila declared as the winner again. As the Congo laws don’t allow a third consecutive term for a President, Mr. Kabila has fieled his loyalist Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Martin Fayulu, a businessman, and Felix Tshisekedi, son of late opposition icon Etienne, are the other contenders.

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