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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Inbox Free and fair elections in Nigeria In January 2015 Nigeria’s incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party, and his main opponent, General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, signed an inter-party agreement to aid in the peaceful running of the upcoming presidential elections. The agreement committed both parties to taking active measures to prevent electoral violence before, during and after the elections. In the run up to the elections, observers waited with bated breath to witness events unfold in the most competitive election since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999. Since the end of military rule, Nigeria had been governed consistently by Goodluck Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party. This year, the incumbent president stood for re-election, seeking his second and final term as President of Nigeria. As night fell at the end of the final day of the elections, the results began to speak for themselves. Opposition candidate Buhari took the presidency by more than 2.5 million votes, winning 54 per cent of the total vote. Buhari succeeded in securing more than 25 per cent of votes in 24 states across Nigeria, ruling out the need for a run-off vote. President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn into office on 29 May 2015. Incumbent President Jonathan received just 45 per cent of the vote and, some three months after signing the inter-party agreement, humbly conceded to the success of the All Progressives Congress. In a statement given on 31 March, Jonathan thanked the Nigerian people for giving him the opportunity to serve as leader of Nigeria and congratulated Buhari on his success. “I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word,” Jonathan said, adding that ambition could never be held as more important than the blood of the Nigerian people. “The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else,” he said. Following Buhari’s victory, Lai Mohammed, a spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress party, praised Jonathan for his actions. “There had always been this fear that he might not want to concede, but he will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically,” he said. In the run up to the elections, no one could have anticipated such a smooth transition of powers. There had been widespread fears of electoral violence and vote rigging – in February, the electoral commission was forced to postpone the elections while international forces attempted to regain control of Boko Haram-led areas in the north-east of Nigeria. Despite this, the elections were found by the commission to be largely peaceful and credible, and resulted in the first ever democratic transition of power between two parties in Nigeria. of Government by parliament, winning 15 votes to Josep Pintat’s seven. Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe, with a population of just 78,000. El Salvador In this year’s parliamentary election, the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance won 40.4 per cent of the vote (35 of 84 seats), the centre-left Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front 37.3 per cent (31), the centre-left Grand Alliance for National Unity 9.3 per cent (11) and the right-wing Party of National Consultation 7.2 per cent (six). Turnout at the March election was 47.8 per cent. Estonia In Estonia’s March parliamentary elections, the ruling Reform Party won 27.7 per cent of the vote and 30 of 101 seats. The result was a knock to the Centre Party, which has ties to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and had been forecast a better result, but secured a lesser 24.8 per cent (27 seats); the Social Democratic Party won 15.2 per cent (15 seats), the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union 13.7 per cent (14), the Free Party 8.7 per cent (eight) and the Conservative People’s Party 8.1 per cent (seven). Turnout was 64.2 per cent. Israel In the March parliamentary elections, Likud won 23.4 per cent of the vote (30 of 120 seats), the Zionist Camp 18.7 per cent (24), the Joint List 10.5 per cent (13), Yesh Atid 8.8 per cent (11), Kulanu 7.5 per cent (ten), Bayit Yehudi 6.7 per cent (eight), Shas 5.7 per cent (six), Yisrael Beiteinu 5.1 per cent (six), United Torah Judaism five per cent (six), Meretz 3.9 per cent (five), and Yachad three per cent (none). Turnout was 72.4 per cent. Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was tasked with forming the new government, but it took until May for him to build a coalition, having been granted an extension by President Reuven Rivlin when a coalition had not been finalised by the usual four week deadline after the election. Two hours before the deadline, a coalition was announced consisting of the Likud party, Jewish Home, United Torah Judaism, Kulanu and Shas. This gave Netanyahu 61 seats – the minimum needed to form a majority. www.global global four th quar ter 2015 -br ief ing.org l 7


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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