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Vote breakdown will shape Nigeria poll outcome

Friday, January 23, 2015

Subject

Scenarios for Nigeria's presidential and legislative elections.

Significance

Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for February 14, with governorship polls set for February 28. The ruling People's Democratic Party's (PDP) candidate is President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running for a second term. The opposition All Progressives Congress' presidential candidate is General Muhammadu Buhari. The presidential polls are expected to be the most competitive since 1999, laying the groundwork for several different outcomes.

Impacts

  • On one level, the security chief's call for electoral delay was designed to detract from the army's failure against Boko Haram.
  • However, it also reflects valid concerns about voter card distribution challenges, particularly in the north.
  • Yet a decision by the commission to delay the election at this stage would be highly controversial, likely to create a backlash.
  • The commission called the election three months ahead of the constitutional requirement, although primarily to make time for a run-off.
  • Yet low popular confidence in electoral administration will raise violence risks, particularly in the north.
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