International Elections and Leaders: October 2020 Briefing

Clayton Besaw
Oct 6, 2020 · 4 min read

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.

Image for post
Image for post
National Trust / Public domain

International Elections

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.

New Leaders

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

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.

The die is forecast

Technical blog for the One Earth Future Forecasting Project

Sign up for Crossing the Rubicon: Forecasting Political Change

By The die is forecast

Quickly catch up with our monthly political forecasting updates.  Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Clayton Besaw

Written by

Research Associate at One Earth Future. Political violence, instability, forecasting, machine learning.

The die is forecast

Technical blog for our forecasting projects related to coup risk, electoral violence and political leadership change.

Clayton Besaw

Written by

Research Associate at One Earth Future. Political violence, instability, forecasting, machine learning.

The die is forecast

Technical blog for our forecasting projects related to coup risk, electoral violence and political leadership change.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store