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Glhermine's maps


Yo también soy Mauricio
I make maps of elections and demographic data in various countries, although these days mostly Colombia, Mexico, other Latin American countries and France. I sadly don't have the mapmaking skills (GIS and whatnot) of certain talented people, and I make all my maps using low-tech Paint and stolen basemaps.

To start off, here is an ethnic map of Colombia, based on 2018 census data.

It is actually more an "ethnic self-identification" map, with the options presented on the census being "indigenous", "Roma", "Raizal", "Palenquero", "black/Mulatto/Afro" and "no ethnic group". The vast majority (87.6%) didn't identify with any ethnic group, so I somewhat simplistically and misleadingly labelled them as "mestizo/white". 6.7% identified as Afro, down from a bit over 10% in the 2005 census, and 4.3% as indigenous.

Chocó (Afro), La Guajira, Amazonas, Guainía, Vaupés and Vichada (indigenous) are the only departments with an ethnic minority majority/plurality. San Andrés/Providencia is 43% none and 42% Raizal, Cauca is only 54.5% none.

Ethnic map 2018.png


Yo también soy Mauricio
As a follow-up to my post on the Surinamese general election here, I've made maps of the result at the district and resort level.

Here are the results at the district level:

Suriname 2020.png

And, for comparison, an ethnic map of Suriname from 2012 census data:

Suriname ethnic.png

There are clear ethnic patterns to the map: the VHP won all districts with an Indo-Surinamese and Javanese plurality, as well as Paramaribo, which is ethnically diverse (the largest group are Creoles with 25%). The NDP is still the only party which won seats in every single district, and its support is more balanced across the country - it placed either first or second in every district, and its worst result was 16.3% in Wanica (small district right outside of Paramaribo). On the other hand, although the VHP did grow its support beyond its traditional Indo-Surinamese base, its support remained heavily concentrated in districts with a large Hindustani or Javanese population: its best results were in Nickerie (59.7%), Wanica (57.7%) and Saramacca (53.9%), all of which have large Hindustani and/or Javanese populations. These were also the only three districts where the main opposition alliance, V7, won in 2015. The VHP also placed first in Commewijne, the only district with a Javanese plurality, with 43.7%; PL only got 19.6% and third place. In districts with a small/negligible Hindustani population, the VHP did very poorly: single digits in Brokopondo, Coronie, Marowijne and Sipaliwini.

ABOP and BEP both have obviously ethnically-defined support bases as well (Maroon), as indicated by the fact that neither party ran lists where the Maroon population is small (ABOP did appear on PL lists in some of those districts, and they apparently did get a seat in Wanica from the PL list). ABOP won 64% in Ronnie Brunswijk's stronghold of Marowijne district (in 2015, A-Combinatie won 55% in the district); this year they also topped the poll in Sipaliwini (35.9%), the huge jungle district in the south of the country. The NDP edged them out by 4 votes in Brokopondo district. BEP's support was heavily concentrated in two districts: Brokopondo (23%) and Sipaliwini (17.7%), its support elsewhere was negligible.

Paramaribo is the most important district with 17 seats for grabs and casting 42% of all the votes in this election. It appears to be a swing district: in 2015, the NDP won the capital with 49.1% against 33.6% for the V7. This year, the VHP won 33.5% against 25.5% for the NDP and 18.8% for the NPS (which won all three of its seats there). ABOP won 10% and got 2 seats.

The NDP lost support in all districts except Coronie, the least populated district (just 1,620 votes), where its vote increased from 45.9% to 56.7%. In 2015, the left-wing pro-Bouterse Progressive Workers' and Farmers' Union (PALU) had won 27% and its only seat in Coronie (held by Anton Paal, a pro-Bouterse trade unionist elected in 2000, 2010 and 2015). Paal retired in 2016. Without him, PALU won only 9.1% in Coronie and lost the seat. The NPS won 24% in the district, its best result, but got no seats because the district's two seats both went to the NDP.

Compared to 2015, my very uneducated guess/inference is that the NDP lost a lot of Maroon voters to ABOP and Javanese/Hindustani voters to the VHP.

Here is a map of the results at the resort level:

Suriname 2020 [resort].png

In comparison to the map of the largest ethnic group by resort, the VHP won every resort with an Hindustani plurality except one (Groningen in Saramacca), the NDP won every resort with a Creole plurality except Tammenga in Paramaribo, the VHP won every resort with a Javanese plurality, the NDP won every resort with an indigenous plurality. The ABOP won all but 4 of the districts where Maroons are the largest ethnic group, the NDP seems to do well with Maroon voters in Brokopondo and Para districts. The two districts where 'mixed' is the largest group split between the VHP and NDP. We also see the insane strength of Brunswijk's personal support in Marowijne district.


Yo también soy Mauricio
Follow up to my post on the recent Malawi presidential election mk2 in the other thread, here are the MAPS, including a tribal/ethnic map from 2018 census data.

Malawi 2020.pngMalawi tribal.png
(an alternate and more detailed tribal map here: https://mcimaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Malawi-Demos.jpg)

Opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera defeated incumbent president Peter Mutharika 59.3% to 39.9%. As is usually the case in Malawian elections, the map was very polarized with clear strongholds for the candidates. Chakwera won the north and centre of the country by huge margins, while Mutharika won the south by substantial margins. The central region, where the Chewa (Malawi's largest tribal group) make up 71% of the population, has been the traditional stronghold of the MCP since the Banda dictatorship - Banda was Chewa (as is Chakwera), and his dictatorship was accused of favouring the Chewa against other groups. In the 1993 referendum on democratization, the central region was the only one to vote against transition to multi-party democracy, and the heavily Chewa districts in the central region (including Lilongwe) have tended to favour the MCP's presidential candidates since 1994. In 2019, Chakwera's support was heavily concentrated in the central region. This year he retained that massive support - he got over 90% (even over 95%) in several districts in the central region, including Lilongwe district.

Chakwera won because he successfully consolidated the opposition vote, which in 2019 had been split between him and Saulos Chilima, who was his running-mate this time. Chilima, despite being from Ntcheu, did well in the north in 2019 - the north, a rather ethnically diverse region, swings between candidates and does seem to favour candidates with less obvious regional bases (in 2014, the north voted for the incumbent president, Joyce Banda). Chilima also won in Ntcheu district (where the Ngoni tribe is the largest) in 2019, and it went heavily for Chakwera this time.

Mutharika (and his brother before him), who is a Lomwe from Thyolo district, has always had his stronghold in the south, particularly the predominantly Lomwe districts. This year again Mutharika got his best results from the heavily Lomwe districts in the south, topping 90% in Thyolo, Mulanje and Phalombe districts. Mutharika did marginally better this year than in 2019: his support increased minimally from 38.6% to 39.9% in this election. He did even better in the south than in 2014, but did worse in the rest of the country than in 2019. Mutharika's biggest gains came from the heavily Yao (a Muslim group) districts of Mangochi and Machinga, the strongholds of his 2020 running-mate Atupele Muluzi (the son of the first democratically-elected president and leader of the UDF party), who ran in 2014 and 2019 (winning 13.7% in 2014 but collapsing to just 4.7% in 2019). Muluzi is a Yao from Machinga district, and won both Mangochi and Machinga districts in 2014; in 2019, Mutharika had already made large gains from his very weak 2014 numbers in those two districts, with Muluzi placing second in both with 27/24%. With Muluzi as his running-mate, Mutharika increased his support in those districts from 54/58% to about 85%.

As I said elsewhere, this is the first election where the candidate supported primarily by the south has lost (the three previous presidents elected since democratization in 1994 all had their bases of support in the south).

If you still need more Malawi content in your life right now, this blog post is pretty good and has nice maps of all elections since 1993: https://mcimaps.com/malawis-young-and-divided-democracy/


Yo también soy Mauricio
Guyana, also known as "the country Venezuela wants to wipe off the map" (almost), is a country with a population of around 780,000 in a country slightly larger than Great Britain, making it one of the least densely populated countries in the world. While geographically located in South America, Guyana has cultural, linguistic, historical and political ties to the English-speaking Caribbean, most notably Trinidad and Tobago.

Guyana was a Dutch and, after 1814, British colony; it gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 and became a Commonwealth republic in 1970. Its official name is the "Cooperative Republic of Guyana", relic of a bygone era in its republican history, and its constitution defines it as a state "in the course of transition from capitalism to socialism". Its economy was dominated by sugar and rice plantations during the colonial period; today, sugar and rice are complemented by gold and bauxite mining, which account for most of its export earnings. In 2015, ExxonMobil (now in a consortium with Hess Corp. and China's CNOOC) announced a significant offshore oil discovery, and with fifteen subsequent oil discoveries since, the gross recoverable resource is now estimated to be more than 8 billion barrels of oil. Oil production began in December 2019 and is expected to reach 120,000 barrels per day soon. Future oil wealth will dwarf Guyana's GDP - gross total oil revenue is estimated to be over 1,100% of the 2018 GDP. With the start of oil production, the IMF estimates that Guyana's economy will grow by an astounding 52% in 2020. Guyana is one of the poorest countries in South America and oil wealth will transform the country - although the country's history of political corruption and government mismanagement and incompetence could mean that this newfound oil wealth is mismanaged.


Guyana is a multi-ethnic country made up of Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese, mixed race and indigenous (Amerindian) communities. The Afro-Guyanese, who have accounted for about 30-32% of the population since the 1960s, are the descendants of African slaves brought by the Dutch and the British until the nineteenth century to work on the plantations. After the abolition of slavery, many former slaves migrated to the cities in search of work, and an Afro-Guyanese middle-class (English-speaking, Protestant and seeking higher social status) grew, but a poorer black working-class worked in plantations, mining or the dockyards. Until the 1930s, Afro-Guyanese, particularly those of mixed African and European descent, made up the bulk of the non-white professional class and were the first to become politically active (and gain a foothold in the colonial civil service). The Indo-Guyanese, who made up nearly half of the population (47-51%) between the 1960s and 1990s but now make up a declining share of the population (43% in 2002, 40% in 2012), are the descendants of indentured servants brought from India by the British between 1838 and 1917 to work on the plantations after the abolition of slavery and the failure of schemes to attract Portuguese (Madeiran) and Chinese workers. Most of them remained in the colony after completing their terms of indenture; many moved away from the sugar estates but few migrated to the cities and most became peasant rice farmers. In 2012, 19.9% of the population were of mixed ethnic heritage, a figure which has grown from just 12% in 1991. The indigenous (Amerindian) population, made up of nine major groups, concentrated in hinterlands, has also grown in both absolute and relative terms and made up 10.5% of the population in 2012. There are very small Portuguese (0.3%, or 1,910 people) and Chinese (0.2%, or 1,300 people) minorities.

57.8% of the Afro-Guyanese population in 2012 lived in Region 4 (Demerara-Mahaica, home to the capital, Georgetown), the country's most populous region (with over 40% of the entire population), whereas only 36.7% of the Indo-Guyanese population lived in Region 4. The Indo-Guyanese make up a plurality/majority of the population in Regions 2 (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 3 (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 5 (Mahaica-Berbice) and 6 (East Berbibe-Corentyne) - historically agricultural regions along the Atlantic coastline. The Afro-Guyanese make up a plurality of the population in the aforementioned Region 4 (which has a large Indo-Guyanese population, 35%, as well) and in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), home to Linden, the country's second-largest town and main bauxite mining centre. The Amerindian/indigenous population live in the country's most remote regions, making up a large majority in Regions 1 (Barima-Waini), 8 (Potaro-Siparuni) and 9 (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and a sizable minority in Region 7 (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).

Political System

Guyana is a presidential republic. It has a unicameral legislature, the National Assembly, made up of 65 members elected for five-year terms by closed-list proportional representation. 25 seats are elected in ten multi-member districts corresponding to the country's administrative regions, with district magnitude ranging from 1 to 7. The remaining 40 seats are elected in a national constituency. A quirk of Guyana's closed-list PR system is that the parties get to choose who their parliamentarians will be from their list after the election - voters do not know who they are electing.

During each general election, each party designates one of its candidates as its presidential candidate, and the candidate of the party list having won the most votes is automatically deemed elected as President. Since 2000, the President may only serve up to two terms. The President is head of state and government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces; the President appoints the Prime Minister, who as a member of the National Assembly is the leader of government business in the National Assembly (and succeeds the President if the office falls vacant), Vice Presidents (the Prime Minister is automatically a Vice President) and cabinet ministers. Up to four ministers may be appointed from outside the National Assembly, and these non-elected ministers are non-voting members of the National Assembly. The President may prorogue and dissolve parliament at any time. The National Assembly may adopt a motion of no-confidence (by a majority vote of all its members), which forces the entire cabinet to resign and hold elections within three months (or such longer period as the National Assembly decides by a two-thirds majority). The President may be removed from office on grounds of incapacity, violation of the constitution or gross misconduct but the process is rather complicated and likely very lengthy.

Brief History

The Afro-Guyanese became politically active in the early 1900s, forming the first trade unions and pushing for political representation to dislodge the old white colonial plantocracy. The Indo-Guyanese only became politically active in greater numbers in the 1940s, which is also when Guyana's current political system began to take form. As the power of the white plantocracy and colonial authorities began to wane, ethnic tensions and competition for power increased.

The seeds of racially polarized politics were sown under the personal influences of two men, Cheddi Jagan and Linden Forbes Burnham. Jagan (b. 1917) was a second-generation Indo-Guyanese from a modest lower middle-class background, although he attended Guyana's elite college and studied dentistry in Illinois, which is also where he met his wife, Janet Chagan, née Rosenberg, a white Jewish woman. Cheddi Jagan was a Marxist anti-colonialist who was disliked by the British colonial authorities, who saw him as a dangerous communist agitator. Forbes Burnham (b. 1923), the son of an Afro-Guyanese headmaster, came from a somewhat more privileged social background and studied law in London. Both men were socialist, albeit Burnham was ostensibly more pragmatic (and/or opportunistic) than Jagan. They both co-founded the People's Progressive Party (PPP) in 1950, a socialist, multi-ethnic and anti-colonialist party which went on to win the 1953 elections (the first colonial elections held under universal suffrage) in a landslide. Led by Jagan as Chief Minister, the first PPP government lasted just over 100 days before the British, with the support of the US, suspended democracy, instinctively suspicious of Jagan's radicalism and balking at a labour relations bill which would have allegedly strengthened the hand of the PPP's union ally (GIWU). During this time, leadership disputes and conflicts over civil service appointments between Jagan and Burnham led to the split of the PPP, along (primarily) racial lines. Burnham's faction eventually became the People's National Congress (PNC) and merged with the conservative United Democratic Party (UDP), a middle-class Afro-Guyanese party, in 1959.

In the 1957 election, despite denials of such motivation, both PPP factions made a strong appeal to their respective ethnic constituencies and their main planks were increasingly identified with the interests of their respective communities. Burnham instrumentalized growing racial tensions and appealed to voters on the basis of race, notably after the absorption of the UDP. The PPP won the 1957 and 1961 elections, although its ability to fully carry out its agenda was held in check by the British governor, while growing tensions between the government and opposition parties and Britain's growing distaste for Jagan delayed full independence. Jagan became increasingly friendly with communist Eastern Bloc states and revolutionary Cuba, expanding trade relations with Cuba and signing trade agreements with Hungary and East Germany. The United States became increasingly concerned about Jagan and the PPP's 'communist' ties and sympathies, and actively supported efforts to overthrow the PPP government. It opposed Guyanese independence under Jagan, concerned that he would create a Castro-like regime.

Between 1961 and 1964, the PPP administration was confronted with a destabilization campaign led by the PNC, the conservative United Force (UF), the business community and the Guiana Trades Union Congress (TUC). There were frequent riots, protests and general strikes (February 1962, April-July 1963, February-May 1964) - ostensibly against the government's 1962 budget and labour relations policy (with a second, unsuccessful, attempt at a labour relations bill which would have strengthened the pro-PPP Guiana Agricultural Workers' Union, GAWU). These disturbances exacerbated ethnic tensions and animosities and made reconciliation between Jagan and Burnham an impossibility. In February 1964, the GAWU - supported by Jagan - called a national strike by sugar workers to demand recognition as the bargaining agent for sugar workers. Violence and racial disturbances escalated: a bus bombing killed two persons, a sugar cane worker was killed by an Afro-Guyanese strike breaker and 38 African died in the bombing of a passenger boat. In May 1964, Governor Sir Richard Luyt declared a state of emergency and British troops were deployed to restore order. The violence, which subsided by the summer, claimed the lives of over 180 people and displaced over 15,000 people. The British government reduced the constitutional powers of the government, and in June 1964 the governor ordered the detention of 32 PPP members including the Deputy Premier.

Following a deadlocked constitutional conference in 1963, the British did not set a date for independence but in 1964, against the PPP's wishes, they imposed proportional representation for the 1964 election, as the opposition had been demanding. In the December 1964 general elections, held under proportional representation, the PPP once again placed first (with 45.8% of the vote) but lost its majority (winning 24 out of 53 seats). The PNC won 40.5% and 22 seats, while the United Force (UF) - a conservative, anti-communist party representing business interests and the Catholic Church, primarily supported by Portuguese, Chinese and indigenous voters - won 12% and 7 seats. Both the PNC and UF received covert assistance from the United States. The election was essentially a 'racial census' election, with the politics of apan jhaat (Hindi for "vote for your own kind") becoming entrenched. Jagan refused to resign, but the governor dismissed him from office and invited Forbes Burnham to form a government, in coalition with the UF. Both parties agreed on little besides their opposition to Jagan's PPP.

The newly formed PNC-UF coalition had the favours of the United States and the United Kingdom, which rewarded it with increased aid. A constitutional conference, boycotted by Jagan, was held in November 1965 and set a date for full independence. Guyana became an independent Commonwealth realm in May 1966. Once in power, Burnham was determined to remain in power, through whatever means necessary, and to eventually dispense with the need for a coalition government. The PNC would rule Guyana until 1992.

In an election marred by vote rigging, manipulation and coercion by the ruling party, the PNC obtained an absolute majority in 1968 - with 30 seats against 19 for the PPP and 4 for the UF. The US was aware of Burnham's plans to rig the elections and continued to provide covert support to both the PNC and UF in the run-up to the 1968 elections. Following the elections, Burnham moved to the left and announced that he would lead the country towards "cooperative socialism" with the establishment of a "cooperative republic" in February 1970. He consolidated his dominance through electoral manipulation, politicization of the civil service, control of the media, harassment of the opposition, repressive national security legislation and control of the armed forces. The Afro-Guyanese made up a majority of civil servants, employees in government agencies and Guyana Defence Force (GDF). In 1974, Burnham declared the 'paramountcy of the party' (PNC), although opposition parties, including the outmanoeuvred PPP, were tolerated and ran in elections. From 1975 through 1977, Jagan offered 'critical support' to his rival's regime, to gain nothing in return. Electoral fraud became increasingly blatant, with the police and military intimidating Indo-Guyanese voters and tampering with ballot boxes; the PNC was duly reelected with ever-larger majorities in 1973 (70%, winning a two-thirds majority), 1980 (77.7%) and 1985 (78.5%). It also claimed an unbelievably resounding 97% victory in a rigged constitutional referendum in 1978 which did away with the need for referendums to amend certain constitutional provisions. With its two-thirds majority, the PNC was able to postpone elections until 1980 and draft a new socialist constitution which established the executive presidency.

In the 1970s, Burnham embarked on a nationalization policy which, by the late 1970s, would see the government control over 80% of the Guyanese economy. In 1971, DEMBA, the largest bauxite mining company (owned by ALCAN), was nationalized, followed in 1975 by an American bauxite mining company. In 1976, Booker McConnell, which owned most of the sugar estates and numerous other businesses, was nationalized. The PPP supported nationalization, but complained that the government's compensation deals with the foreign-owned companies were too generous. Besides nationalization, the government also took over the retailing and distribution systems, export marketing, most financial institutions and tightly regulated currency exchange. A plan, to "feed, house and clothe the nation", emphasizing self-reliance, ended in failure in part because of the government's hostility towards rice farmers and sugar workers, predominantly Indo-Guyanese PPP supporters. Sugar production fell steeply in 1977 after a 135-day strike by GAWU in the sugar industry over profit sharing in the new state-owned sugar corporation.

Guyana's foreign policy shifted to the left and relations with the US deteriorated over the 1970s. Formal diplomatic relations with Cuba were established in 1972 and Cuban planes bound for Angola were allowed to pass through Guyana. Burnham denounced imperialism, participated in the non-aligned movement and supported national liberation movements in southern Africa. However, at some point after 1977, relations with the US - which remained far more concerned about the prospect of the PPP regaining power - improved.

Burnham's idea of 'cooperative socialism' apparently also included fanatical murderous cults, as his government at the least tolerated the presence of the Jonestown cult (and looked pretty bad after the massacre) and associated with the 'House of Israel' cult (founded by an American fugitive). In 1979, a British-born Jesuit priest and photographer was stabbed to death by members of the House of Israel.

Forbes Burnham passed away in August 1985 and was succeeded by prime minister and first vice president Desmond Hoyte. Hoyte made minor concessions to the opposition on electoral reform (abolishing overseas voting and limiting proxy voting, two major tools of fraud since 1968) but rejected other demands (such as the counting of votes at polling places, rather than being seized for 'safekeeping' by the army) and other new features further facilitated fraud. Hoyte's PNC was thus reelected in another fraudulent election in 1985, with over 77% of the vote.

In 1985, Guyana was facing a severe economic crisis as economic mismanagement and corruption nearly bankrupted the country: GDP per capita fell from $2,000 in 1981 to $1,480 in 1990, with the parallel economy and black market thriving as the formal economy sank. Public services, infrastructure and general living standards rapidly deteriorated; blackouts occurred almost daily; bauxite, rice and sugar production declined steeply and there were shortages of rice and sugar and other basic necessities. Thousand left the country, and the population declined from 782,000 to 743,000 between 1980 and 1990. The foreign debt ballooned to over $1.7 billion by 1988 and the government was unable to meet its debt obligations and arrears reached $1 billion by 1988.

Although Hoyte initially maintained the rhetoric of 'cooperative socialism', the crisis forced him to shift towards free-market economic policies to liberalize the economy with a IMF and World Bank-backed economic recovery program (ERP). As part of the ERP, the government devalued the currency, liberalized foreign exchange regulations, removed price controls, lifted import restrictions, encouraged private investment, renounced nationalizations and cut public spending. Satisfied with Guyana's economic reforms, the IMF and World Bank helped eliminate the external payments arrears. The government privatized 15 of 41 state-owned corporations, but backed off on divestment plans for the sugar and bauxite companies. However, the government granted forestry and mining concessions to foreign-owned firms. The government's economic reforms were slow to show their results. Hyperinflation reduced standards of living, high interest rates squeezed local business owners, the sharp currency devaluations between 1988 and 1991 adversely affected consumers and producers all while wages and salaries lagged seriously behind inflation. Only in 1991 did Guyana record positive economic growth for the first time since 1985.

Following the 1985 election, five of the six major opposition parties, led by the PPP (and excluding the conservative The United Force, TUF), formed the Patriotic Coalition for Democracy (PCD) which pushed for a series of electoral reforms to guarantee a free and fair election such as the creation of a fully independent electoral commission and the counting of ballots at the polling places. Increased pressure from foreign aid donors, particularly the United States, forced Hoyte to make concessions. The Carter Center was invited to Guyana in 1990 and pushed the PNC to agree to a new voters' list, the appointment of a new electoral commission and the preliminary counting of ballots at polling places. Difficulties with the creation of a new voters' list pushed back the elections, scheduled for May 1991, until October 1992. The PCD fell apart over differences on a consensus presidential candidate, and the PPP allied with a 'Civic' sector in an attempt to broaden its appeal. Cheddi Jagan's prime ministerial candidate was Samuel Hinds, an Afro-Guyanese who came from this 'Civic' sector. The PPP deftly detached itself from Marxist-Leninist doctrine and presented itself as a pragmatic, social democratic party which would respect private enterprises all while protecting workers' rights and Guyanese economic sovereignty. Promising change and rebuilding after 28 years of authoritarian single-party rule, the PPP promised to form a multiparty, multi-racial government.

Despite election day being marred by violence at the electoral commission's building in Georgetown, the 1992 election was free and fair. The PPP won 53.5% of the vote and 36 out of 65 seats. The PNC won 42.3% and 26 seats. Other parties were marginalized and obtained only crumbs: the leftist Working People's Alliance (WPA) won 2% and 1 seat, the UF won 1% and 1 seat. Hoyte accepted defeat and Cheddi Jagan, by now a tamer septuagenarian, became president. In power, Jagan continued Hoyte's free-market policies and Guyana enjoyed solid economic growth, ranging between 5% and 8%, until 1998.

He served until his death in 1997. His widow, Janet Jagan, became president following the PPP's reelection in 1997 (which was followed by several weeks of rioting by the PNC, alleging massive fraud), but resigned in 1999 after suffering a mild heart attack. She was succeeded by Bharrat Jagdeo, who had been finance minister since 1995. The PPP was reelected with absolute majorities in 2001 (53% and 34 seats) and in 2006 (54.6% and 36 seats).

Politics have remained polarized along traditional ethnic lines, and elections have remained particularly tense moments characterized by demonstrations, violence, allegations of fraud, clashes between the parties' supporters and conflicts between the PPP and PNC.

Jagdeo appears to have been mildly competent and somewhat successful in his presidency, taking advantage of generally strong economic growth and high gold prices to make investments in infrastructure and increased social spending, achieving an improvement in living conditions. The PPP claims to have inherited a catastrophic situation and bankrupt country under IMF supervision in 1992, and credits itself with restoring the country's economy and maintaining macroeconomic stability (reducing the foreign debt, low inflation, economic growth, increased public revenues). On the other hand, drug trafficking has proliferated, criminality increased and the PPP developed autocratic tendencies, one flagrant example being its failure to organize local elections since 1994. The notorious Guyanese drug lord Roger Khan, recently released after serving 10 years in jail in the US, was protected by senior PPP government officials and publicly claimed that he was fighting criminals on behalf of the government after a 2002 prison break triggered a massive crime wave. Khan was reputedly the leader of a lethal 'death squad' held responsible for some 200 murders between 2006 and 2006. A former PPP interior minister is accused of having orchestrated these 'death squads' in close collaboration with Khan, while President Jagdeo's head of the presidential secretariat is said to have intervened to have Khan released and his equipment returned in 2002. The Police Commissionner between 2006 and 2012, Henry Greene, had alleged ties to drug trafficking and his US visa has been revoked prior to his appointment in 2006 to signal the donor community's displeasure with him. He retired in 2012 following new allegations of rape against him. The US State Department's annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports were often critical of Guyana's underwhelming commitment to counter-narcotics efforts, poor law enforcement capabilities and lack of progress on prosecutions. On certain occasions, Jagdeo furiously lashed out at the US for its perceived 'double-talk' on fighting drug trafficking.

Jagdeo was term limited in 2011, and the PPP's presidential candidate was Donald Ramotar, who had been the PPP's general secretary since 1997. Ramotar had been groomed for the job by his predecessor and always needed to contend with a widespread perception that he was no more than Jagdeo's proxy. The PPP's campaign took credit for economic stability, steady growth and infrastructure development, and Ramotar pledged to continue Jagdeo's policies. The PNC allied with several smaller parties including the Working People's Alliance (WPA), the Guyana Action Party and the National Democratic Front to form A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition, led by retired GDF commander Brigadier David Granger. Among its main promises was to establish a national unity government to move past winner-take-all politics. In between the two traditional parties was the Alliance for Change (AFC), a right-leaning multiracial liberal party founded by dissidents of both the PNC (Raphael Trotman, its prime ministerial candidate) and PPP (Khemraj Ramjattan, its presidential candidate, and Moses Nagamootoo). In its first election in 2006, the AFC won 8% and 5 seats, an impressive debut for a third party. The AFC advocated moving beyond zero-sum racial politics and urged voters not to vote on racial/ethnic lines.

In 2011, the PPP won 48.6% and 32 seats - but lost its absolute majority. APNU won 40.8% and 26 seats, and the AFC won 10.3% and 7 seats, giving the two opposition parties a parliamentary majority. However, because Guyana's constitution only states that the presidential candidate of the party which won the most votes is automatically deemed elected, Ramotar became president. Raphael Trotman (AFC) was elected Speaker with the support of the two opposition parties. Between a president who didn't have a parliamentary majority and a parliamentary majority which didn't control the executive, little got done between 2011 and 2014. Bills passed by the opposition died on the president's desk, while the opposition refused to support major government projects like an anti-money laundering bill and a major hydro power project. The opposition parties regularly cut spending out of the budget, while the PPP government was accused of spending $22.5 million which had not been approved by Parliament. In November 2014, facing a parliamentary motion of no confidence over the government's lack of transparency in public spending, Ramotar controversially prorogued Parliament. The opposition loudly claimed that he was a dictator. He finally dissolved Parliament in February 2015 and an election was held in early May 2015.

The opposition APNU and AFC didn't make the same mistake twice, and ran a single list with APNU's David Granger as the presidential candidate and the AFC's Moses Nagamootoo as prime ministerial candidate. The coalition agreement laid out a 60/40 allocation of cabinet seats between APNU and AFC respectively, and delegation of responsibility for most domestic affairs to the prime minister. The APNU+AFC coalition contended that, under PPP rule, Guyana had become an "unhappy country" and a pariah state with rampant criminality, lawlessness, poverty, corruption and authoritarianism. It ambitiously promised to heal, reunite and reconcile the nation by establishing an inclusive democracy with a government of national unity. It also promised to increase old age pensions, give government workers significant salary increases, cut the VAT, hold long-overdue local government elections, investigate corruption and the introduction of constitutional reform. The governing PPP's campaign largely focused on regaining a majority government to pass legislation held up by the opposition and continue with its large infrastructure projects.

The 2015 election was a two-cornered fight. The APNU+AFC won 50.3% of the vote and 33 seats, a narrow one-seat majority over the PPP which got 49.2% and 32 seats. The opposition coalition's total was very similar to that obtained by APNU and AFC separately four years earlier. Ramotar initially refused to concede defeat and demanded a recount, but was quickly forced to leave office. David Granger was sworn in as president, ending 23 years of PPP rule.

The APNU+AFC government's achievements appear to be rather modest. It lowered the VAT from 16% to 14%, increased old age pensions, introduced a mildly progressive income tax, reduced the corporate tax rate for manufacturing and non-commercial activities, created a sovereign wealth fund for future oil revenues and finally held local elections in 2016 and 2018. It failed to delivered significant salary increases to public servants, and angered many by increasing ministers' salaries. It dithered on promises of constitutional reform, only going as far as setting up a consultative committee on the matter and appears to have ruled out substantial constitutional reforms - such as weakening the 'imperial' executive presidency. Instead, spending in the new Ministry of the Presidency increased significantly and there has been no rebalancing of power between the president and prime minister. The government's management of the economy was criticized because of growing budgetary deficits financed by more borrowing, growing debt, a worsening current account balance and the introduction of several unpopular and controversial tax measures. Although Guyana's ranking in the corruption perceptions index has improved since 2015, the government was seen as dragging its feet on major anti-corruption initiatives and battled several corruption and nepotism scandals of its own. It was also criticized for a lack of transparency, particularly in the disclosure of major infrastructure projects and the new oil contracts.

The 2016 oil contract between the Guyanese government and ExxonMobil (a modification of the 1999 license granted to Exxon, on terms already very favourable to Exxon) has been criticized for being overly favourable to the oil giant. The deal includes a 2% royalty and 50% profit share after the company recoups its loses. 75% of oil production will initially be allocated to ExxonMobil and its partners for cost recovery, and the remaining 25% will be split 50:50 with Guyana. According to a report by Global Witness, the deal deprived Guyana of up to US$55 billion. Under the current Exxon deal, Guyana receives only 52% of oil revenues from the Stabroek offshore license (in comparison to normal estimated government shares of 65-85%, and the report believes a minimum equitable share for Guyana would be 69%). Under the 2016 deal, ExxonMobil will pay US$1 million per year in rent and contribute US$600,000 annually to promote employment, training, and environmental and social protections. It also paid a US$18 million signing bonus to Guyana, which was kept secret from the public until late 2017 for 'national security' reasons - ostensibly it was to be used to cover the legal costs of Guyana's case at the ICJ against Venezuela to settle the territorial dispute. Global Witness' report claims that ExxonMobil employed aggressive and rushed negotiation tactics against inexperienced Guyanese negotiators; it also claims that natural resources minister Raphael Trotman (of the AFC) ignored expert advice and Guyana's strong negotiating position. The government signed the deal with ExxonMobil just a few days before the oil company publicly announced its Liza 2 find with 1.4 billion barrels of oil (the world's second largest oil find in 5 years) - it's unclear whether or not Trotman knew about this find, but he rushed to sign the deal before the find was publicly announced. Both ExxonMobil and the Guyanese government disputed the report's conclusions. ExxonMobil claimed the report didn't take into account Guyana's status as a "frontier hydrocarbon province", while the government defended the contents of its deal and emphasized that the government focused on security concerns when negotiating - Exxon's presence provides some security and stability in the face of Venezuela's claims. Venezuela has been pushing its claim more forcefully: in 2013, the Venezuelan navy boarded and seized an oil exploration vessel for four days and in 2018 Venezuela sent gunboats to hinder Exxon's activities.

Despite the looming oil riches, Guyana's government doesn't seem prepared for it very well. It hasn't set up a regulatory body for oil yet, it hasn't finished drafting relevant new laws and there still isn't a local content policy.

Emboldened by the coalition parties' poor results in the November 2018 local elections (61% for the PPP vs. 34% for APNU, 4% for AFC running separately), the PPP presented a motion of no-confidence in the government. On December 21, 2018, the government fell in an historic vote of no-confidence, 33 to 32, with AFC MP Charrandas Persaud joining with the PPP to vote in favour. Persaud's vote shocked his hitherto government colleagues and, receiving death threats, was forced to flee the country to Canada. He defended his vote, saying that he had finally voted his conscience, criticizing AFC MPs as 'yes men' and criticizing the government's closure of sugar estates in his region. Theoretically, under the constitution, new elections should have been held within three months (or longer, if determined by a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly). Instead, the government chose to ignore the constitution and the Attorney General filed a court case arguing that the motion was invalid. The government claimed that an absolute majority of 65 members would be 34 rather than 33 (...) and that Persaud was ineligible to be an MP because he held dual Canadian-Guyanese citizenship which isn't permitted by the constitution. In January 2019, the Chief Justice ruled that while Persaud did hold dual citizenship, the motion was nonetheless validly carried and the government should have resigned. The Attorney General rejected the ruling and appealed it. In March 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the government and overturned the Chief Justice's prior ruling, arguing that an absolute majority of 34 votes was required. The PPP appealed to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which in the court of last resort in Guyana since 2005. In June 2019, the CCJ ruled that the no-confidence motion had been validly passed with 33 votes; its ruling also stated that while Persaud may have been ineligible to be an MP, his vote could not be nullified as the irregularity had not been taken up with the proper authorities after the 2015 election. The CCJ did not set a date for new elections, saying that the date should be determined locally. With the government in caretaker mode, it further dithered on setting an election date - which should have come in September 2019 (three months after the CCJ's ruling). The Commonwealth, UK, US and EU stated in September that by failing to hold an election, the government was effectively ruling unconstitutionally. Finally, in September, the government set March 2, 2020 as the date for the elections.

2020 Elections in Guyana

Given that the incoming government would administer the first five years of oil production and the looming oil riches, Guyanese politicians as well as most foreign media accounts of the election described the election as one of the most important in the country's history.

The APNU+AFC coalition was renewed. The AFC would have risked humiliation running alone, going by the results of the 2018 election. In government, the AFC has been marginalized and appears to have largely forgotten its ambitious promises of past years like constitutional reform. It chose Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Security and one of the vice presidents, as the coalition's prime ministerial candidate alongside President David Granger. Its rather vaguely worded and unambitious manifesto pledged to continue its policies, promote investment and job creation, diversify the economy, improve public infrastructure, improve healthcare delivery and access, guarantee free post-secondary education, expand access to housing, introduce conditional cash transfers and to continue the work of the constitutional reform consultative committee (a much watered-down change from more ambitious, broken, promises for constitutional change in 2015). The coalition's manifesto was rather mum on management of future oil wealth besides mention of a local content policy, full implementation of the sovereign wealth fund and implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative report.

As is usual in Guyanese elections, the ruling coalition used the advantages of incumbency to appeal to voters through infrastructure development and benefited from the clear favouritism of the state-owned media and the government's information department.

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo, general secretary of the PPP, had been Leader of the Opposition since 2015. Since a 2000 constitutional amendment limiting the president to two terms - upheld by the CCJ in 2018 - Jagdeo is ineligible for the presidency. In January 2019, Irfaan Ali, member of the National Assembly since 2006 and cabinet minister for seven years (as housing minister, and as industry, commerce and tourism minister), was selected as the PPP's presidential candidate. He was a controversial choice, as Ali was facing 19 charges since November 2018 in connection to a land project (he is accused of defrauding the state by selling public lands to political allies at prices far below their real value). He was also accused of misrepresenting his academic qualifications in 2002, by submitting a fake undergraduate degree when applying to a Masters' program in India. Ali also needed to contend with accusations that he was a 'puppet' of Jagdeo. Ali's prime ministerial candidate was retired GDF Brigadier Mark Phillips, former Chief of Staff of the GDF between 2013 and 2016.

The PPP's manifesto promised to reduce the bureaucracy, simplify the tax system, reverse some changes made to the VAT, incentivize the private sector to create more jobs, rescue the traditional productive sectors (mining, rice, forestry, agriculture, sugar - notably reopening the closed sugar estates), expand infrastructure, increase electricity production (notably by completing the controversial Amaila Falls Hydro Project, heavily pushed by the last PPP governments but that the coalition effectively killed off), create 10,000 housing lots annually and provide free post-secondary education within 5 years.

The PPP said that it would renegotiate oil contracts signed after the ExxonMobil deal, but that it would keep the ExxonMobil contract intact because it was a 'pioneering investment'; the party's campaign otherwise promised to establish an independent regulatory framework for oil, establish a model production-sharing agreement, build strong national capability to hold oil companies accountable and ensure due transparency and accountability. The PPP is not without blame in the oil saga: in the final months of the last PPP administration, the Kaieteur and Canje offshore licenses were questionably awarded to Guyanese and Israeli companies with little track record in the oil industry, and which later sold shares to Exxon. The PPP said that it'd use oil revenues for targeted cash transfers, tax reductions, pension increases and to improve infrastructure, education and healthcare.

Three small parties, the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and The New Movement (TNM) ran separately but agreed to combine their votes for the national allocation of seats. It was the first time parties formed such a combination. They agreed before the election to share any seats won over the term of the new legislature. The LJP was founded in 2019 and is led by Lenox Shuman, born to an indigenous father and mixed-race mother in St. Cuthbert's Mission (an indigenous Arawak community). Prior to the election, he was trying to relinquish his Canadian citizenship. The party attacked the traditional political status-quo of post-independence Guyana, racial/ethnic politics, the disrespect for the constitution and politicians' lack of vision for the country's future development. ANUG, led by Ralph Ramkarran (former PPP Speaker of the National Assembly from 2001 to 2011), notably supported a consensual government (and also supported some form of LGBT protections, in a country where homosexuality is still illegal). TNM was described as a "party of young professionals". Essentially, these parties - sometimes by their own admission - are to be what the AFC was supposed to be in 2011, prior to entering coalition with APNU.

The Post-Election Crisis

Election day proceeded smoothly and efficiently. The EU Election Observer Mission (EOM) said the voting process were generally well managed and largely peaceful. The counting of votes at polling stations was free and fair, and the tabulation process (based on statements of poll, SOPs, from all polling stations) in all regions except for Region 4 was conducted transparently.

The process started derailing on March 4, as nine of the ten regions had announced their results which showed the PPP leading by around 51,000 votes with Region 4 (the most populous region, home to Georgetown) left to declare. Region 4's returning officer suddenly felt unwell and was taken to a hospital, suspending the tabulation process and setting off a chain of chaotic events which included a replacement returning officer also feeling unwell, the unauthorized use of a flash drive and suspect spreadsheet by a data entry clerk trying to load SOPs, the foreign minister threatening to revoke international observers' accreditation and the police trying to clear the building citing a bomb threat. On March 5, the Region 4 returning officer unlawfully declared unverified results - based on a spreadsheet that did not match SOPs of the parties and international observers. Despite heavy criticism from the opposition parties and international observers, provisional results were released to the media by the electoral commission (GECOM) which showed the APNU+AFC coalition winning in Region 4 by 59,077 votes. However, a GECOM board meeting ended inconclusively, which according to the EU EOM signalled that GECOM had "abdicated its constitutional duty to take all actions necessary to ensure compliance with the law and oversee a proper tabulation process". The PPP obtained a High Court injunction restraining GECOM and the Region 4 RO from declaring the result until tabulation was completed in accordance with the law.

On March 11, the acting Chief Justice annulled the results of Region 4 and ordered the RO to resume the tabulation process using SOPs in the presence of party agents. However, the RO defied these orders and refused a transparent, legal tabulation. When the process resumed on March 13 after an adjournment, the RO read out results from SOPs that were not visible and did not match those in possession of party agents. The RO, GECOM's Chief Election Officer (CEO) and APNU+AFC did not make a single SOP available for public scrutiny. With these disputed numbers, the APNU+AFC coalition won nationally by 7,507 votes - enough for a one seat majority in the National Assembly. The PPP's parallel count, deemed credible by the EU EOM, had them leading by 17,053 votes nationally. The US, Canadian, British and EU diplomatic missions in Georgetown warned that the Region 4 results were not credible and that any government sworn in on these results would not be considered legitimate. The US raised the possibility of imposing sanctions on Guyanese leaders.

CARICOM chair Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, led a delegation of regional leaders to Guyana on March 11-12 and later announced that, following an agreement with President Granger and opposition leader Jagdeo, an high-level independent CARICOM team would supervise a full nationwide recount. The team arrived on March 15, however on March 17, an APNU+AFC candidate obtained an High Court injunction blocking the recount and the team left the country. After further appeals within the High Court and to the Court of Appeal, the injunction was finally vacated in early April and cleared the way for GECOM to proceed with the recount.

In mid-April, GECOM announced that it would conduct a nationwide recount and requested the return of CARICOM's high-level team to supervise the recount. After further delays, the recount supervised by CARICOM observers started on May 6. Amid the pandemic, the government limited the number of recount stations and imposed other rules. The recount was expected to take 25 days, but only ended up being complete by June 8. The recount results found that the PPP had won the election by 15,416 votes and obtained a one-seat majority in the National Assembly. The recount also showed that the Region 4 results announced in March by the RO had inflated the ruling coalition's votes by over 19,000 and reduced the PPP's votes by nearly 3,700.

Even before the recount ended, the ruling coalition refused to accept the results of the recount and began claiming that they had detected massive fraud. They supported a report from CEO Keith Lowenfield, who claimed that the voting process had been fraudulent and that 60% of votes cast on election day were invalid. On the votes that he considered valid, the ruling coalition obtained 67%. The opposition called on Granger to accept defeat.

The CARICOM observer mission's report endorsed the results of the recount and concluded that they could be used by GECOM to declare a result. GECOM's Chair, retired Justice Claudette Singh, ruled that the recount results would be used and ordered the CEO, Keith Lowenfield, to prepare a report declaring the results. However, a court challenge was filed to block GECOM from using the recount results to declare a winner. On June 22, the Court of Appeal interpreted 'more votes cast' to mean 'more valid votes cast', confusingly leaving it up to GECOM to determine what valid votes meant. The PPP appealed the ruling to the CCJ, which issued an order restraining GECOM from declaring results pending a full hearing and final orders. Despite this, Lowenfield submitted a report of the 'valid and credible votes' which inexplicably discarded 115,787 votes as invalid and showing an APNU+AFC victory by 5,482 votes. While the ruling coalition and President Granger backed Lowenfield's results, his actions - described as an 'act of insubordination' by some - were widely condemned', including by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

On July 8, the CCJ nullified the Court of Appeal's ruling on 'valid votes', saying that the court didn't have the jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place and criticizing Lowenfield's report for arbitrarily disenfranchising thousands of voters. In theory, this ruling paved the way for GECOM to declare the results on the basis of the recount numbers and the GECOM chair ordered Lowenfield to submit a report by the afternoon of July 10. Instead of using the recount figures, however, he once again defied the GECOM chair and presented his own numbers showing a 7,447 vote victory for the APNU+AFC coalition, notably using the discredited March 13 results from Region 4. Lowenfield now falsely claimed that the CCJ had found the recount order to be unconstitutional.

The circus continued. GECOM ordered Lowenfield to submit a report, and he once again failed to comply. On July 14, an APNU+AFC supporter filed a court challenge to block GECOM from declaring the winner of the election using the recount results and contended that GECOM Chair Claudette Singh could only make a declaration from the report submitted by the CEO and could not dictate the contents of this report. The opposition parties found this latest court challenge to be an 'abuse of court'. The international community also became increasingly exasperated by the ruling coalition's desperation to remain in power despite their defeat. On July 15, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions on "individuals who have been responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Guyana". UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on GECOM to announce results using the recount numbers. The EU, only July 22, also joined calls for GECOM to declare a winner based on the recount results.

On July 20, the Acting Chief Justice dismissed the latest challenge and said that only the recount results could be used to declare a winner. She also ruled that the recount order was valid and that the CCJ had endorsed it, contrary to the claims made by the CEO and the Attorney General. The Chief Justice also decided that the CEO is under the direction and control of GECOM and must act in accordance with its instructions. However, this ruling was appealed. On July 30, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal.

On August 2, five months after the election, GECOM finally declared the PPP's candidate, Irfaan Ali, as the president-elect and winner of the elections. The government-appointed GECOM commissioners, in a last-ditch effort to delay the results, unsuccessfully tried to organize a dialogue between Granger and Jagdeo, which was rejected by the PPP leader. Ali was sworn in as president. Mark Phillips was sworn in as Prime Minister and first vice president, although one of the most powerful figures in the new PPP government is likely to be PPP leader and former president Bharrat Jagdeo, who also holds the title of vice president. The US, UK, Canada and EU congratulated Ali on his victory.

Outgoing President David Granger begrudgingly acknowledged the declaration of results, but maintained that the report was 'flawed' as the results contained significant anomalies and irregularities. Granger said that APNU+AFC would challenge the results legally and peacefully. Disingenuously and confusingly, the ruling coalition went from claiming that the March 2 vote had been free and fair to claiming that the CARICOM-supervised recount (which it had agreed to) had discovered widespread fraud and irregularities and that inclusion of these 'fraudulent' votes in a final result would be unconstitutional. Former President Granger will not be among the new opposition MPs: he did not appear on the list of MPs chosen by the PNC. Former Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who resigned from cabinet and Parliament in 2019 because of his dual citizenship, is likely to be the new opposition leader.

The election drama has revealed the urgent need for electoral reform in Guyana. Both the EU and CARICOM observer missions' report were particularly critical of GECOM, which throughout the entire process struggled to impose clear and consistent directions and failed to control its purported subordinates (most flagrantly the CEO). The commission, in the opinion of the CARICOM mission, is hampered by partisanship with three government-nominated members and three opposition-nominated members plus a chairperson.

The results of the election, based on the recount figures, were:

PPP 50.69% - 33 seats (+1)
APNU-AFC 47.34% - 31 seats (-2)
LJP/ANUG/TNM [sum] 1.13% - 1 seat (+1)
LJP 0.58%
ANUG 0.5%
TNM 0.05%

Change Guyana 0.42%
PRP 0.19%
TCI 0.15%
URP 0.08%

Guyanese voting patterns continue to be heavily influenced by ethnicity. The PPP dominated in regions with an Indo-Guyanese plurality/majority - Regions 2 (70.6%), 3 (65.9%), 5 (55.3%) and 6 (67.3%). It also traditionally does very well in Region 1, a coastal hinterland region with a large Amerindian population; this year it won two-thirds of the votes in that region.

APNU+AFC carried the same four regions it had won in 2015, including disputed Region 4 - where recount results gave the former ruling coalition 57.9% of the vote against 40% for the PPP. APNU+AFC's vote share in Guyana's most populous region fell from 61.6% in 2015. The coalition's advantage over the PPP in the vote-rich region fell from 43,653 votes in 2015 to 36,021 in 2020 (the fake numbers of March 13 had the coalition winning by 58,826 votes). In 2015, the coalition's nationwide advantage over the PPP had been just over 4,500 votes, so its poorer performance in Region 4 can explain its defeat (and can explain its urge to tamper with the numbers there).

Unsurprisingly, APNU+AFC's strongest region was Region 10, which has the largest Afro-Guyanese population of any region. The coalition got 84.5% of the vote in Region 10.

The LJP, ANUG and TNM combination of lists added up to 1.1% of the vote, enough for one top-up seat which will, for now, be held by the LJP's leader Lenox Shuman. The three lists combined performed best in Regions 7 and 8, getting 10% and 9.9% in those two regions which have a large Amerindian and mixed race population (and the two least populated regions in the country, casting less than 5,000 votes each). In 2011, the AFC had won Region 8.


Yo también soy Mauricio
New Caledonia maps:

Nouvelle Caledonie 2020 Ref.png

Despite the No vote falling by over 3% since 2018, all communes voted the same way they did in 2018. All of the Yes communes are remarkably solid: the weakest result for the Yes in a commune it won was 66.6% in Koné. Most of the No communes are rather lopsided as well, with only two of them voting No with less than 60% - Moindou (46.1% Yes) and Pouembout (48.2% Yes).

Nouméa voted 76.7% No, down from 80.5% two years ago. 41% of the No's entire vote came from the city, which cast around 28.5% of all votes. The other three communes in the Grand Nouméa also voted heavily No: 73.7% in Dumbéa, 71.8% in Le Mont-Dore and 71.2% in Païta. Obviously the vast majority of the No's votes came from these four communes.

The strongest municipality for the No was Poya Sud (the small part of the commune of Poya located in Province Sud), with 97.7% for the No albeit on a total vote of just 173. If you count Poya as a whole commune instead of in two parts it voted 62% Yes. The strongest actual commune for No was tiny Farino, at 88.5% No. Founded by Corsican settlers, it has the smallest Kanak population of any commune in New Caledonia.

The strongest municipality for the Yes was Bélep, a small archipelago facing the northern tip of the Grande Terre (main island) with a quasi-homogenously Kanak population (96.4% as of the last census in 2014). The second strongest was Hienghène, the former stronghold of the late independentist leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou, at 96.3% Yes. It is also over 90% Kanak.

Interestingly, while the Loyalty Islands had the strongest Yes vote of the three provinces, their Yes vote appears quite 'low' for a place where Kanaks are 94% of the population. Maré was the only commune where the Yes did worse than in 2018, falling from 84.6% to 79.3%. Lifou and Ouvéa both voted around 86% Yes. Not sure what's up with that.

As in 2018 the main predictor of Yes support is ethnicity. Since New Caledonia is the only part of France where they're allowed to collect these kinds of statistics, we can actually map out ethnicity against vote choice. So here it is.

Nouvelle Caledonie 2020 - Kanak Oui.png


Yo también soy Mauricio
As may have been mentioned, the franchise for these referendums (as well as provincial elections in NC) is restricted. Basically, those born outside New Caledonia and who immigrated to New Caledonia over the past decades don't have the right to vote.

Those registered to vote in the referendum needed to meet at least one of the following criteria:
  • Registered to vote or fulfilling conditions to be registered to vote in the 1998 referendum on the Nouméa Accord, i.e. 10 years residence between 1988 and 1998
  • Not meeting residency requirements in the 1998 referendum, if you can justify that your absence was for family, professional or medical reasons
  • Have had civil customary status or, born in New Caledonia, have the 'centre of their moral and material interests' there
  • Have one parent born in NC and having the 'centre of their moral and material interests' there
  • Able to justify 20 years continuous residence in NC by 31 Dec. 2014
  • Born before 1989, and having resided in NC between 1988 and 1998
  • Born after 1989, and having one parent able to vote in the 1998 referendum
New Caledonia therefore has three electoral lists: the general list (used for 'French' elections), the provincial list (for elections to provincial assemblies and Congress) and the special list for the referendum.

Thankfully, because of the municipal elections this year, held under the general list in New Caledonia, we can get a rather accurate picture of how many people are excluded from voting in the indyrefs. Granted, EU citizens can also vote in municipal elections but I doubt there are that many of them registered, particularly here. According to my estimates, there are 32,425 voters on the general roll who cannot vote in the referendums. That's 15.2% of registered voters who are not on the referendum list.

So here is a map which shows the percentage of those on the general list (as of March 2020) excluded from the special referendum list.

Of these 32,425 'excluded' voters, the vast majority - 94.7% - are in the Province Sud. 59.5% of 'excluded' voters are in Nouméa alone. For comparison, 64.8% of registered voters for the referendum were in that province, and 69.4% of general list voters in March 2020 were in that province. Only 1,731 voters in the other two provinces, which have overwhelmingly nationalist majorities and a largely Kanak population, were 'excluded' from the referendum list.

Nouméa is the commune with the most excluded voters - 27.1% of those who could vote in March 2020 couldn't last Sunday. The other communes in the Grand Nouméa also have high percentages of excluded voters: 17.3% in Dumbéa, 16.9% in Mont-Dore and 18.9% in Païta. Pouembout, in Province Nord, has the most excluded voters outside of the Nouméa metro at 13.4%. On the other hand, in most overwhelmingly Kanak communes, the percentage of excluded voters is insignificant - below 1% in many cases. Kaala-Gomen (75.9% Yes) even had the same number of registered voters in March and October 2020.

Alex Richards

A musical Hubble Space Telescope
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That sounds like something which could cause a court case if there was a narrow yes victory considering the fact I assume most of those would be no voters.

EDIT: I've just worked out people who's parents moved to the island in 1995 and were born in 2000 would, for example, be excluded from a referendum determining the future of the only place they've ever lived in.


Designated VOLTer
That sounds like something which could cause a court case if there was a narrow yes victory considering the fact I assume most of those would be no voters.

EDIT: I've just worked out people who's parents moved to the island in 1995 and were born in 2000 would, for example, be excluded from a referendum determining the future of the only place they've ever lived in.
Yeah it is quite astonishing that the French government agreed to discriminate against its own citizens in such a way. I understand that things in New Caledonia were heated but still.

Do you happen to know why they agreed to such a provision @glhermine ?

Also kudos on the great map and explanation. As a matter of fact your old blog on French política got me hooked on 4th Republic politics.


Yo también soy Mauricio
Yeah it is quite astonishing that the French government agreed to discriminate against its own citizens in such a way. I understand that things in New Caledonia were heated but still.

Do you happen to know why they agreed to such a provision @glhermine ?

Also kudos on the great map and explanation. As a matter of fact your old blog on French política got me hooked on 4th Republic politics.
Restricting the franchise for provincial elections and the referendums has been one of the main demands of the nationalists, since basically the start of the troubles in the 1980s. They see it as a safeguard against mass immigration/settler colonization from metropolitan France depriving the Kanaks of any possibility of ever being a majority in their own country and of deciding on their own future. As recently as the 1970s, France was still promoting white metropolitan immigration to reduce the weight of the Kanak population and make them a minority. For the nationalists, independence means decolonization, and decolonization means ending (settler) colonization. The nationalists remain strongly opposed to reopening the electorate for provincial elections and the referendum.

To a certain extent, the loyalists have agreed to certain restrictions to franchise, sometimes arguing that it reserves participation to people truly established in the territory and with a real stake in its future, rather than people just passing through.

These restrictions were first envisioned by the Matignon Accords in 1988 and the 1998 Nouméa Accords introduced the concept of a 'New Caledonian citizenship', which is the legal justification for the restrictions. The constitutional amendments which were passed to allow this restricted franchise, in 1998, were adopted by an overwhelming left/right majority: 827 to 31, with all three New Caledonian (loyalist right-wingers) parliamentarians at the time voting in favour. Ever since the Matignon Accords, the central government wants to avoid doing anything unilaterally with regards to New Caledonia and always seeks to punt the thorny issues to the 'signatories committee' of the Nouméa Accords, although despite that it's never completely avoided frustrating at least one side.

The restrictions to franchise are to be temporary - until the Nouméa Accord expires, which now means after independence following a successful third referendum, or, more likely, the negotiation of a new status after a third unsuccessful referendum. The restrictions have already been challenged in courts, and were upheld by the UN Human Rights Committee (in 2002) and the European Court of Human Rights (in 2005). However, as time goes by and the electorate remains 'frozen', it is probably getting more and more likely that a court challenge to these restrictions would be successful this time around.

As I've alluded to, the electoral list for provincial elections is different from the special referendum list - confusingly, the referendum list is both more restrictive and less restrictive than the provincial list. Basically, to vote in provincial elections, you need to (a) have been eligible to vote in the 1998 referendum or (b) have been registered on the general list ('le tableau annexe') and resident for 10 years in NC or (c) if you turned 18 after 1998, be able to justify 10 years residence in NC in 1998, or have a parent eligible to vote in the 1998 ref. or have a parent on the general list in 1998 and justify 10 years residence.

The 1999 organic law which translated the Nouméa Accord into law was unclear on the meaning of the le tableau annexe (i.e. French citizens registered to vote who arrived in New Caledonia between 1989 and 1998). In 1999, the Constitutional Council interpreted the wording of the clause to mean that anyone who arrived in New Caledonia after 1989, including those arriving after Nov. 1998 (the Nouméa referendum), would be eligible to vote in provincial elections after 10 years residency. This interpretation is known as the 'slippery' electorate (corps électoral glissant) since, after 2009, it would grow to include people who had moved to New Caledonia after 1998. However, both the Nouméa Accords and the French parliamentary debates clearly show that the intention of both signatories and legislators was different - that the tableau annexe was that of Nov. 1998. This interpretation is known as the 'frozen' electorate, since those who arrived in New Caledonia after the 1998 referendum will never be eligible to vote in provincial elections (and neither will their children, even if native-born).

An attempt to amend the constitution in 1999 to freeze the electorate never succeeded for unrelated reasons, and so the 'slippery' interpretation prevailed. The nationalists kept pushing to freeze the electorate. The loyalists opposed freezing the electorate. In 2003, Chirac promised to settle the question before the end of his term. A constitutional amendment adopted in February 2007 froze the electorate for provincial elections, by stating that the tableau annexe meant that which existed on the day of the 1998 referendum. This amendment was also adopted by a large left/right majority: 724 to 90. This time, however, all three New Caledonian (loyalist right-wingers) parliamentarians voted against.


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EDIT: I've just worked out people who's parents moved to the island in 1995 and were born in 2000 would, for example, be excluded from a referendum determining the future of the only place they've ever lived in.
Actually, a kid born in NC in 2000 to metro French parents would be eligible to vote in the referendum - under the criteria 'born in NC with the centre of their moral and material interests there'. However, that same kid would be ineligible to vote in provincial elections!

On the other hand, you could also have a case of a guy who arrived in New Caledonia between 1995 and 1997-8 who would have become eligible to vote in provincial elections between 2005 and 2007-8, but who would not be eligible to vote in the referendums because he wouldn't meet the 20 years residency requirement!

It's endlessly confusing.


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Ethnic map of New Caledonia, 2014 census:

Nouvelle Caledonie Communautés.png

New Caledonia is the only part of France where ethnic stats are allowed as part of an official mandatory census/survey. Since 2009, the categories have been expanded to include 'many communities' (including métis answers) and 'Caledonian' (referring to a common, New Caledonian, 'common destiny' identity). Data at the commune level groups Caledonian and all small ethnic communities (Indonesian, Vietnamese, other Asians, Tahitians, Ni-Vanuatu and others) into a big 'others' category.

The ethnic makeup in 2014 was:
Kanaks 39.1%
Europeans 27.1%
Many communities 8.6%
Wallisians and Futunians 8.2%
Caledonian 7.4%
Tahitian 2.1%
Indonesian 1.4%
Other 1.3%
Ni-Vanuatu 1%
Vietnamese 0.9%
Other Asian 0.4%
Undeclared 2.5%

In 2009, the statistics agency had estimated that Kanaks+mixed race Kanaks were 44%, Europeans+mixed race Europeans 34%, Wallisians and Futunians+mixed race WF 10.4%.

Kanaks are the indigenous Melanesian inhabitants of New Caledonia. While 40% of the Kanak population now lives in the greater Nouméa (compared to two-thirds of the entire population), the Kanak population is significantly more rural, concentrated in smaller towns and especially along the rural and less populated east coast of the Grande Terre and all the islands (Belep, Ile des Pins, Ouvéa, Lifou, Maré). Kanaks make up just 26% of the South Province's population but 70.5% in the North Province and 94% in the Loyalty Islands (never really settled by the Europeans).

Europeans are made up of 'Caldoches', the 'native-born' descendants of white European (predominantly but not exclusively French) settlers and former convicts, and more recent immigrants born in metropolitan France (métros or Zoreilles). In 2014, 50.5% of Europeans were born in metro France and 41.6% were born in New Caledonia. 32% of Europeans in 2014 had moved to New Caledonia between 2000 and 2014. Europeans are the wealthiest community in New Caledonia and have the highest levels of education. Nearly 85% of Europeans live in the greater Nouméa, just 9% live outside the South Province. They make up 33% of the South Province's population, and just 12% of the North Province's population.

Wallisians and Futunians started moving from their native islands of Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly the 'nickel boom' in New Caledonia and there are now more Wallisians and Futunians in NC than in Wallis and Futuna (21,900 vs. 11,500). However their share of the population has stagnated since the 1980s with a slowdown in migration from Wallis and Futuna. They're quasi-exclusively (94%) concentrated in the greater Nouméa where they make up 11.5% of the population, including over 18% in Dumbéa and Païta. Two-thirds of them were born in New Caledonia. The Wallisians and Futunians are poorer and blue-collar.

Tahitians also moved to New Caledonia pursuing economic opportunities there, with their numbers fluctuating based on the relative economic fortunes of French Polynesia and New Caledonia. About half of Tahitians in 2014 were born in French Polynesia, the other half were native-born.

Indonesians and Vietnamese are the remnants of contracted workers brought to New Caledonia from the Dutch East Indies and French Indochina, mostly prior to World War II. Many of them returned to Indonesia and Vietnam following the independence of those countries, and the Indonesian population in NC has shrunk from over 5,000 in 1976 to 3,800 in 2014. Those still in New Caledonia have largely integrated with the European population. While basically all Indonesians are native-born, about 41% of Vietnamese were born abroad.

The vast majority of those identifying as 'other communities' (Caledonian) and many communities/mixed race were born in New Caledonia. Around 85% of them live in the South Province. It is possible that many native-born Caldoches may identify as mixed race given intermarriage, as well as the estimate 15,000 'Algerians of the Pacific' (descendants of Algerians deported to the penal colony of New Caledonia following nineteenth-century insurrections against French rule in Algeria). Some Europeans (and Kanaks) may also identify with the new 'Caledonian' identity, which grew from 5% to 7% between the 2009 and 2014 censuses. Self-identification as 'Caledonian' likely refers to the aspirations of a 'common destiny' introduced by the Nouméa Accords of 1999, and a rejection of ethnically-defined bloc politics (separatists vs. loyalists).


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Second round of the 2019 Guatemalan presidential election by municipality.

Guatemala 2019 [R2] - Municipalities.png

Alejandro Giammattei, the latest candidate of the corrupt traditional business elites, defeated corrupt populist Sandra Torres with 58% in the runoff. As I have touched upon in a post in the global elections thread a few months back, Torres is toxic to urban voters, particularly in the most affluent regions (i.e. Guatemala City metro, Antigua Guatemala and Quetzaltenango)

Giammattei won 83.5% in Guatemala City, 81% in Mixco, 75% in Villa Nueva, 84% in Quetzaltenango, 59% in Cobán and 81.4% in Antigua Guatemala.


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So this map is pretty old (2017, apparently) but I recently reminded myself of its existence and it's one of the more interesting ones I've made since it is not a topic I've seen many maps from. It's a racial self-identification map from the Cuban 2012 census, which asked for skin colour with the options given being white, black/Afro and mulatto/mestizo. The last two are grouped as 'non-white'.

Overall 64% identified as white, 26.6% as mulatto and 9% as black. Whites make up a majority of the population in every province except for the provinces of Granma (54% mulatto + 3.5% black), Santiago de Cuba (60% mulatto + 14% black) and Guantánamo (63% mulatto + 13% black) in the former Oriente province. The province of Havana has a more diverse population - 58% white, 26% mulatto and 15% black. Non-whites make up a narrow majority of the population in two central Havana municipalities: Old Havana and Centro Habana. The self-declared black population is more urban than average.

Cuba Race 2012.png


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More Guatemala content. I've made an ethnic map on the basis of 2018 Census data.

Guatemala Ethnic Map 2018.png

In 2018, 56% identified as 'Ladino' (i.e. Spanish-speaking, non-indigenous mestizo/white), 41.7% as Maya and 1.8% as Xinka. Very small percentages identified as Garifuna or Afro-descendant/Creole. Mayans make up the majority of the population in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Quiché, Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, Sololá and Chimaltenango. They form a substantial minority (over 25%) in Sacatepéquez, Suchitepéquez, San Marcos, Petén, Izabal and Chiquimula. The Xinka make up 31.7% of the population in Jalapa, 19.3% in Jutiapa and 14.1% in Santa Rosa.

The main Mayan linguistic groups/peoples are the K'iche (27.1% of Mayans), Q'eqchi (22.1%), Kaqchiquel (17.2%) and Mam (13.6%).


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Huh. I always assumed the far north would be majority Maya as well.
Petén (the far north department) has a lot of Mayan archeological sites like Tikal but a lot of those were abandoned during the 'Classic Maya collapse' in the lowlands, and the remaining Mayan (Itzá) population was conquered by the Spanish in 1697 and thereafter largely decimated by European disease and the like. In the contemporary period, there's been a lot of mestizo colonization of the region (related to the chicle and rubber booms in the early 20th century) and during the post-coup dictatorships the military had a strategic interest in settling those border regions.


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A few years ago, I made a map of the indigenous population of the Americas based on national census data. This time I went with something a bit more complicated: a map of the black population of the Americas.

Again it is based on the most recent national census data which, in nearly every country, asked for race or skin colour in one way or another. For Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I used nationwide estimates from the World Factbook given the lack of racial census data. Some countries - like Canada/the US, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Cuba, the Caribbean islands, some Central American countries - have a comprehensive ethnic-racial question. Other countries - like Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia - ask for indigenous and/or Afro self-identification. Venezuela, frustratingly, has a comprehensive skin colour question which does not include an indigenous category (unlike Brazil) and asks for indigenous identity separately. So presumably some of those identifying as black/brown in Venezuela are actually indigenous, not Afro-descendants.

I excluded the Miskito population of Honduras and Nicaragua from this map after going back and forth. Honduras helpfully has a more detailed question which allowed me to figure out that Miskito identified as indigenous and not as black/Afro-Honduran, while Garifuna and Creole identified as black.

Brazil stands out because I included the black and brown population together (as I did for Cuba). The smaller map on the side has only the black population. For Venezuela the smaller map on the side includes black and brown populations together, with the aforementioned caveat of indigenous people being included in those categories.

Suggestions for improvement welcome.