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The pre-election section of this month’s CAI African Election Review examines the run-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections due to take place in Uganda on 18 February 2011. Although long-serving president Yoweri Museveni has lost support over the years, few expect the elections to bring about any significant change in the country. The first round of parliamentary elections in Chad scheduled for 20 February are also examined. These elections have been postponed numerous times, most recently in November 2010 due to financial shortcomings, and the future of the country now rests on their peaceful and successful staging. The presidential election scheduled to take place in Benin on 27 February is also discussed.
The post-election section of this month’s African Election Review examines the referendum on secession or unity which took place in Sudan on 9 January 2011 and was set to determine the future of not just the South, but the whole of Sudan. Also examined in the post-election section is the presidential election in the Central African Republic (CAR), which took place on 23 January 2011. With the election already having been postponed numerous times, voters in CAR are eager to see the electoral process through to the end. The presidential election in Niger that took place on 31 January 2011 and which indicates yet another step along the path of return to democracy following the military coup in February 2010 is also examined.
Uganda – Presidential and parliamentary elections
Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Uganda on 18 February 2011. If no candidate receives an absolute majority, a second round run-off will be held on 9 March.
The last round of general elections took place in Uganda on 23 February 2006 and was only the first multiparty election since Yoweri Museveni took power in 1986. The 2011 elections therefore represent an important stage in the development of the political sphere in Uganda. In 2005 Museveni amended the constitution in order to enable him to serve another 5-year term. Following both the 2001 and 2006 elections, the runner-up challenged the results in court on the grounds that the election had been rigged. In both cases, the judge agreed with the position but concluded that the levels of irregularities could not have altered the final result.
International observers have been invited to Uganda to assess the electoral process. However, members of the opposition claim that this election is a political ritual and that there is no genuine chance of regime change.
• Main candidates
The key contenders for the election include incumbent Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and his main challenger, Colonel Kizza Besigye, who leads the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). The six other candidates are the former UN Under-Secretary-General Olara Otunnu of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), Norbert Mao of the Democratic Party (DP), Jaberi Bidandi Ssali of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Beti Kamya of the Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), Abed Bwanika of the People’s Development Party and independent candidate Samuel Lubega. However, in-fighting is rife in the opposition and Besigye is considered the only genuine contender from the opposition.
• Election issues and/or concerns
o The 2011 elections represent the second set of multi-party elections in Uganda since 1986;
o In five decades since independence, none of Uganda’s heads of state have been voted out of office;
o Allegations of misconduct and vote rigging have been made ahead of the elections;
o In 2005, incumbent President Museveni amended the consitution, thus allowing himself to stand for a third term in office;
o Museveni’s support has gradually decreased over the years but he is still expected to win the presidential election;
o Opposition leader Kizza Besigye is considered the only genuine contender for the opposition;
o If no outright winner is found, a second round of elections will be held on 9 March 2011.
Chad – Parliamentary election (first round)
The first round of parliamentary elections are set to take place in Chad on 20 February 2011. Parliamentary elections were originally scheduled for 28 November 2010 but were postponed due to financial and human resource shortcomings. Having previously been postponed from April 2006 to April 2007 due to a lack of funds, the parliamentary elections in Chad were futher postponed due to the civil war in the east of the country.
Chad is a one-party-dominant state lead by the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS). In August 2007, the ruling MPS party led by President Idriss Déby and a number of opposition leaders signed an agreement regarding the organisation of the elections. To allow time for the agreement to be implemented, elections were delayed until 2009. In October 2010, Chad’s national election commission further delayed parliamentary and local elections to 2011.
The head of the electoral commission has commented that the elections will go ahead but, given the lack of resources in the country, has called for support from the international community in staging the elections.
• Election Issues and/or concerns
o Concerns have been raised about the ability of the country to successfully administer the election;
o The election process in Chad has been criticised for having problems with electoral fraud, multiple voting, underage voting and low voter turnout;
o This will be the fourth popular presidential election to be organised in Chad since Déby came to power following a coup in 1990;
o The last legislative election was held in 2002;
o In 2006, the vote failed to take place following the 2005 constitutional referendum;
o After the signing of a political accord between Déby’s Patriotic Movement and opposition parties, the mandate of members of Parliament elected in 2002 was extended;
o The 2005 constitutional revision allows Déby to compete again for the presidency after the removal of a two-term limit;
o Originally scheduled for November 2010, the election is now set to take place on 20 February 2011.
Benin – Presidential election
A presidential election is set to take place in Benin on 27 February 2011. A second round is scheduled for 13 March if the first round does not produce an outright winner.
Thomas Yayi Boni has been President of Benin since he took up office following the previous general election in 2006. Benin has experienced numerous changes of Government since gaining independence from France in 1960. In 1990, amidst pressures to democratise that were sweeping across Africa, the Government of Mathieu Kérékou introduced a democratic constitution for the first time.
• Main candidates
The main candidates include the incumbent President Yayi Boni who first came to power in the 2006 elections and has served one term. A former Director of the West African Development Bank, Yayi Boni is considered a favourite to win. Other candidates include former Prime Minister Adrien Houngbedji of the Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) and the first woman to run for president and veteran opposition candidate Marie-Elise Gbedo. As a former Member of Parliament, Janvier Yahoudéou has close links to the ruling party, Prudent Tokpanou is a former Minister of Justice and Tchalla Késsilé is a former Minister of Health. Other candidates include Agossa Irenaeus and Abdoulaye Bio Tchane.
• Election Issues and/or concerns
o A number of parties and associations have formed a broad coalition to support the candidacy of Abdoulaye Bio Tchané;
o In the past, Boni’s campaign focused predominantly on the economy and reforming the cotton sector – a major export;
o Boni comes from one of the country’s most influential ethnic groups;
o Despite minor irregularities, the last two sets of elections held in Benin were deemed free and fair;
o The current elections are expected to take place peacefully.
Sudan – Referendum
Referendum outcome: Majority vote in favour of secession for South Sudan from the central Government-controlled Sudan.
Referendum results: 98.83% of ballots cast voted in favour of secession.
A referendum was held in Sudan on 9 January 2011 to determine whether South Sudan would gain independence from the Government-controlled North of the country. The referendum comprised part of the Naivasha Agreement made between the Khartoum Central Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) in 2005. Many Southern Sudanese regarded January’s referendum as their first opportunity for self-determination. The agreement ended decades of civil war between North and South, and included a permanent ceasefire.
An overwhelming 98.83% of ballots cast were in favour of South Sudan independence from the North. Once the preliminary result is confirmed, Africa’s newest nation will formally declare its independence on 9 July 2011. The Government of South Sudan (GoSS), a body that was formed as part of the 2005 peace agreement, will lead the country.
• Referendum commentary
o The North and South of the country have suffered years of conflict driven by religious and ethnic divides;
o The referendum forms part of the 2005 Naivasha peace agreement;
o Voter registration began around the world in November 2010;
o Despite numerous logistical challenges, approximately 3,852,000 Southern Sudanese cast their vote in the referendum;
o 98.83 voted in favour of secession;
o Concerns remain around the logistics of the creation of the new state, including the division of natural resources and the building of structures of good governance in the new South Sudan;
o South Sudan will formally declare its independence on 9 July 2011.
Central African Republic – Presidential elections
Election outcome: François Bozizé was re-elected as the President of the Central African Republic (CAR) in a vote which took place on 23 January.
Election results: François Bozizé received 66% of the votes. Ange-Felix Patassé received approximately 20.1% of the votes whilst Martin Ziguélé came in third, with 6.46%.
A presidential election was held in the CAR on 23 January 2011. The election follows numerous postponements, most recently due to insufficient funds and infrastructural provisions. In the past, outbreaks of violence within the country and fighting in the north of neighbouring Uganda have also caused delays to the polls.
Amidst widespread allegations of fraud and misconduct, all four of the opposition candidates dismissed the validity of the election. Three candidates rejected the results before they had been released, demanding that the vote be annulled. Presidential candidate and former President Ange-Felix Patassé said he would challenge the results and an opposition coalition called the ballot a ‘masquerade.’ Bozizé’s supporters claim his re-election is a great victory for the people. Under the relatively democratic rule of President Patassé and Prime Minister Ziguélé, economic stability and national security were worse than they have been thus far under Bozizé’s rule.
• Election commentary
o President François Bozizé came to power in March 2003 following a coup against President Ange-Félix Patassé;
o This presidential election was originally set for 18 April 2010 but was postponed on numerous occasions;
o Six candidates stood in the presidential elections;
o Voter turnout was approximately 54% ;
o More than 1,000 national and international observers were present;
o The opposition contested the results, calling the election a ‘masquerade’;
o The head of the African Union’s observer missions said that the elections were ‘democratic, free and fair’ in spite of a number of challenges;
o Bozizé won outright and received an absolute majority, meaning no run-off round will be held.
Niger – Presidential election (first round)
Election outcome: Mahamadou Issoufou and Seini Oumarou will proceed to a second round run-off scheduled for 12 March 2011.
Election results: Mahamadou Issoufou received 36.06% of the votes, Seini Oumarou 23.24%, Hama Amadou 19.82%, Mahamane OUsmane 8.42%, Cheiffou Amadou 4.07%, Moussa Djermakoye 3.95%, Aboubacar Amadou Cissé 1.61%, Abdoulaye Amadou Traoré 0.54 and Bayard Mariama Gamatie received 0.38%.
Presidential elections were held in Niger on 31 January 2011. With no candidates receiving an absolute majority, the two leading candidates from the first round will proceed to a second round run-off scheduled for 12 March. The January poll was the first election since a coup toppled former President Mamadou Tandja in Feberuary 2010. The election is intended to return the country to civilian rule. A military junta calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD) pledged to return democracy to Niger, introduced an interim Government and set a timetable for elections.
Local and international election observers agreed that there was no significant disruption to the process. The estimated voter turnout of approximately 50% of the 6.7 million elgiable voters was also considered a success.
• Second round candidates
Seini Oumarou is a close ally of the ousted Mamadou Tandja and now heads the National Movement for the Development of Socient (MNSD) – Tandja’s former party. He also served as Prime Minister during Tandja’s rule. Although he will be unpopular with many due to his close links to the former President, he is expected to be backed by a broad coalition, including the party of the third-placed candidate Hama Amadou. Veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou of the opposition Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism party is a front-runner in the polls. His party also dominated local and regional elections in January.
• Election commentary
o The country has been in political turmoil since a coup in February 2010 toppled former President Tandja;
o Tandja altered the Constitution in order to extend his mandate and received widespread criticism;
o A group of senior military officers lead by Salou Djibo staged a military coup;
o They announced the formation of a military junta called the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD);
o The CSRD introduced a transitional Government and set a timetable for the return to constitutional rule;
o The presidential elections are intended to restore Niger to democratic rule;
o Election observers and members of the junta expressed satisfaction over the high voter turnout;
o Both international and local observers as well as the electoral commission conceded that there was no significant disruption to the process;
o Seini Oumarou and Mahamadou Issoufou will proceed to a second round of voting due to be held on 12 March 2011.
1. Contact Hannah Gibson through Consultancy Africa Intelligence’s Election Reflection Unit (email@example.com).
Written by Hannah Gibson (1)