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.
Three key elections for the chief executive took place in the month of September.
Jamaica— Parliamentary (September)
In the only national election for the chief executive last month, Jamaica held a parliamentary election on September 3.
Incumbent prime minister Andrew Holness handily won reelection as his Jamaica Labor Party picked up 17 new seats after getting a 6.9% increase in vote-share compared to the last election in 2016.
This will be Holness’s third term as prime minister. Holness now must face looming economic issues both within Jamaica and in the region. His administration will seek to create 100k+ new jobs and to address chronic infrastructure problems on the island. In addition, Holness has publicly proclaimed that his administration will also seek to curtail corruption.
Finally, Holness has sought to make himself more of an influence on both regional and geo-politics by engaging with the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Three new individuals took power as a chief executive in the month of September.
Yoshihide Suga (Centre-right/right) — Japan
Following the resignation of long-time leader Shinzo Abe due to personal health reasons, Yoshihide Suga was sworn in as Prime Minister of Japan on September 16.
Suga was close to the former prime minister, often being considered his personal “fixer”. Known for his tough and professional demeanor, his media moniker the “Iron Wall” suggests that Suga will be a straight forward and serious political leader.
Suga will likely continue the main policies of his Liberal Democratic Party. However, initial shifts in policy around foreign economic investment have been quickly promoted by the new PM. These shifts entail a lowering of corporate and income taxes as a way to attract FDI and foreign talent into Japanese boardrooms. The overall goal being the creation of a new international economic hub in Tokyo.
Alongside these reforms around taxes, Suga will seek to revise Japan’s corporate governing code to help improve diversity in Japan’s executive positions. Female and non-Japanese representation in corporate leadership positions has been seen as a road not only towards social progress, but is seen as a tool for making Japanese firms more competitive in an increasingly diverse global economic system.
Bah Ndaw (Military transitional government) — Mali
As Mali’s post-coup political environment continues to develop, a new transitional leader has been named. Bah Ndaw (also spelled N’Daw, N’Dah, N’Daou), a former air force colonel, was named interim President of Mali for the 18 month period before new elections.
Ndaw was elected by the 17 electors of the military-led transitional authority and is seen as a catch-all candidate who is free from “international corruption”.
One of Ndaw’s first decisions was to appoint a civilian prime minister (Moctar Ouane) after receiving pressure from ECOWAS. ECOWAS and other regional players have sought to get greater civilian leadership and oversight over the interim military authority. Sanction relief thus moves one step closer after Ndaw made the decision to appoint Ouane as prime minister.
18 months is a long time. Coups often create cycles of instability that can challenge even the most good-faith efforts of coup plotters. Keep an eye on Mali as a result. Ndaw has promised to go after corruption and fraud within the government, a course that could make numerous political and military enemies over the the long road to fresh elections.
Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Hereditary monarch) — Kuwait
In another non-democratic transfer of power this month, Nawf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah (Al-Sabah from here out) ascended to the throne of Kuwait following the death of his half-brother and previous liege Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Al-Sabah will be tasked with figuring out Kuwait’s increasingly precarious economic situation. Debt has continued to climb and the Emir’s ability to borrow funds is hamstrung by the country’s parliament. The sharp drops in global oil prices and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic have made Kuwait’s economic prospects considerably worse over the last 6 months.
While it is difficult to predict what will happen, this time period represents a potential inflection point in Kuwaiti politics. Kuwait has a rare political culture for the region. Non-royal citizens have significantly more power of the political process than the other kingdoms in the area. A stalemate between royal leadership and non-royal governing bodies only serves to cripple Kuwait while other gulf states continue to grow and adapt economically.
Given this situation, it is possible that serious political and economic reforms take place in an effort to break this deadlock.
Elections in October
Eight key elections for the chief executive and one constitutional referendum are set to take place in the month of October
Bolivia will hold a general election on October 18. The Ivory Coast will hold a general election on October 31. Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on October 31. Guinea will hold a presidential election on October 18. New Zealand will hold a general election on October 17. Tanzania will hold a general election on October 28. Tajikistan will hold a presidential election on October 11. The Seychelles will hold a presidential election on October 22.
Finally, Chile will hold a constitutional referendum on October 25.