Africa election outlook: Key issues in 6 upcoming elections
The next two weeks will include a slew of elections on the African continent. Guest blogger Alex Thurston takes a look at the issues at play in some of the polls.
As VOA reminds us, “over 30 African countries [are] scheduled to hold parliamentary and presidential elections this year,” and some sixteen countries have already held their votes. A few weeks ago, I looked at the electoral pictures in Djibouti, Nigeria, Benin, Mauritania, and Chad. One of those elections has completely concluded: on April 8, Djibouti re-elected President Ismael Guelleh to a third term (more here). This post looks at how elections in the other countries (and in North Sudan) are proceeding.Skip to next paragraph
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Here’s the updated electoral calendar:
- April 25: Presidential elections in Chad
- April 26: State elections and some (previously delayed) legislative elections in Nigeria
- April 28: State elections in Nigeria’s Kaduna and Bauchi States
- April 30: Parliamentary elections in Benin
- May 2: State elections in North Sudan’s South Kordofan State
- Unknown: Partial Senate elections in Mauritania
Here is an outline of the major issues at stake in each country:
Chad’s upcoming presidential election follows parliamentary elections in February that the ruling party won. Threats of boycotts are dogging the presidential election, meaning incumbent President Idriss Deby will likely be able “to extend his two-decade rule in the central African nation.” I am expecting a continuation of the status quo in Chad.
Nigeria has already completed its presidential election (April 16, which incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan won) and most of its legislative races (April 9, which resulted in some losses for the ruling People’s Democratic Party). On April 26, Nigeria will hold state elections (for governor and state assembly seats) in almost all of its 36 states, and will hold some of the legislative elections that were delayed because of logistical problems earlier this month. Following the news of Jonathan’s victory this week, riots began in some Northern Nigerian states. Due to the violence, the electoral commission has delayed the elections in two states, Kaduna and Bauchi, to April 28.
The gubernatorial elections next week will further test the PDP’s control at the state level (currently the PDP has 26 governors). It is possible that PDP victories in Northern states could lead to more riots, and there is potential for violence in other areas too, such as the Niger Delta in the South.
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