Judge to decide on Nigerian election re-run

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Umaru Yar'Adua

A result is expected today on the possibility of an election re-run in Nigeria. Opposition parties claim that current President Umaru Yar'Adua's People's Democratic Party (PDP) fixed the results of the 2007 election in his favour and are calling to have the result annulled. So far, the tribunal has rejected one out of the two petitions calling for the annulment.

International suspicions were also raised at the time, with some voicing concern over the election.

A Nigerian judge is currently delivering the ruling on the case of granting the opposition parties a re-run, neither of which claim to have won the previous election. The decision could have negative impacts - if another election is called, it could be seen as an admittance of a 'false democracy' occurring in the last election and therefore undermining the political process in Nigeria. However, if no re-run of the election is called, it could cause instability between political rivals and may spark protests.

Emma Esau, of the Alliance for Credible elections, told the BBC: "We have faith the judges will give us a good ruling, and in any case we don't believe there will be violence after the decision is announced. This will not take Nigeria to the brink."

Yar'Adua assumed office on 29th May 2007 after the election in April, where he won 70% of the vote. Since then, he has became the first Nigerian leader to declare his personal assets, as well as overturning hikes in petroleum and tax made by the previous government. Despite these positive steps, he has also been surrounded by controversy, with several governors who served him before 2007 being charged by the EFCC, the anti-corruption commission.

Election annulments have already been passed for seven of thirty-six state governors and even the senate president, David Mark.


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