Tag Archives: INEC

Opposition Wins Nigerian Elections

Posted on in Nigeria title_rule

Challenger General Muhammadu Buhari has won Nigeria’s presidential election by 2.57 million votes, defeating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Gen Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), won 15,424,921 votes (53.95 percent) of the 28,587,564 total valid ballots case. Rival Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 12,853,162 votes (44.96) in the elections, which was held on Saturday and Sunday. In a statement released Wednesday, INEC chairman Attahiru Jega stated, “Muhammadu Buhari, of the APC, having satisfied the requirement for the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected.”

In an unprecedented step, which will likely help to defuse anger amongst disgruntled supports of the former president, Mr Jonathan called Gen Buhari at 5:15 PM (1615 GMT) on Tuesday, prior to the final results being declared, to concede defeat. A spokesman for Gen Buhari’s APC party praised Mr Jonathan, stating, “he will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically,” adding “anyone who tries to foment trouble on the account that they have lost the election will be doing so purely on his own.” In a statement released late Tuesday, Jonathan stated, “I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word.” He urged disputes over the results to be settled in court rather than on the street, adding, “nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.” Jonathan will officials hand over power to Buhari on 29 May.

Gen Buhari’s move is a significant moment in Nigeria’s history, as never before has a sitting president lost an election. Jonathan had led Nigeria since 2010. While he won elections in 2011, over the past year, Nigeria has suffered a series of major attacks carried out by Boko Haram militants, with many believing that Gen Buhari is better positioned to defeat the militant group after Jonathan failed to maintain his promise of ending the six-year insurgency. While military gains against the militant group in recent weeks were welcomed, they were also seen as too little too late, particularly by those who have lived under constant threat.   This was reflected in Borno state, which has been the worst-affected region by the Islamists rampage. Initial results indicated that Buhari won 94 percent of the vote in the state as hundreds of thousands of people defied threats of suicide attacks and bombings to vote. While Buhari has acknowledged that the task of completely defeating Boko Haram will be challenging, along with other challenges, including dealing with widespread poverty, his military background resulted in many believing that the former leader is better equipped to fight the insurgents.

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , ,

Mauritania’s President Wins Elections

Posted on in Mauritania title_rule

Despite his main rivals boycotting the elections, which they called a sham, preliminary results indicated late Sunday that Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has been re-elected after gaining an overwhelming 81.89 per cent of the vote.

The results, which were released by Mauritania’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday, indicated that Abdel Aziz was firmly ahead of anti-slavery candidate Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, who obtained 8.67 per cent. Taking third place was Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, with 4.44 per cent of the vote, while the only female candidate, Lalla Mariem Mint Moulaye Idriss, took only 0.49 per cent.

In the weeks leading up to the elections, which were held Saturday, the former general, who seized power in an August 2008 coup, campaigned strongly, highlighting his successes in fighting armed groups linked to al-Qaeda militants both at home and in neighbouring countries in the Sahel region.

When Abdel Aziz came to power in 2008, kidnappings and attacks carried out by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) occurred frequently. In 2010 and 2011, Mauritanian troops carried out a number of successful “preventative” raids on AQIM basis in neighbouring Mali. However since then, the President has boasted that he has transformed the nation into a regional haven of peace, mainly thanks to his reorganization of the military and security forces.

While many Western leaders see Mauritania, which is located between the west coast of Africa and the Sahara desert, as a strong fighter against al-Qaeda-linked groups that operate in the region, the country’s opposition has long criticized the president, and has argued that this price of peace has been the result of authoritarian rule. In the weeks leading up to the elections, the opposition called on the country to boycott the vote. However tensions between the president and the opposition are not new as the main opposition parties have never accepted Abdel Aziz’s 2009 presidential victory, with many stating that that election was marred by massive fraud.

The National Forum for Democracy and Unity, an opposition coalition formed of eleven parties, including a moderate Islamist movement, called out to voters ahead of Saturday’s elections to denounce what they call Abdel Aziz’s “dictatorial power.” While the opposition’s hopes of attaining a high abstention rate were not achieved, the boycott did have some affect on the overall turnout. On Sunday, officials from the electoral commission indicated that voter turnout reached 56.46 per cent, below that of the 2009 elections, when participation stood at 64 per cent.

Despite a decrease in voter turnout, African Union (AU) observers indicated Monday that they were satisfied with the vote. The head of the AU mission, Beji Caid Essebsi, who is also Tunisia’s former prime minister, indicated “overall, this election took place peacefully and in a spirit of political tolerance…I welcome the civic sense among the Mauritanians.”   He however also noted the boycott and urged that both political sides to seek dialogue in a bid to prevent any post-election violence.

Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,