- Election Watch
Benin: In the March 20 presidential runoff, independent candidate Patrice Talon won 65 percent, defeating incumbent prime minister Lionel Zinsou of the ruling Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin. In the first round on March 6, Zinsou led with 28 percent while Talon came in second with 25 percent.
Cape Verde: In March 20 elections for the 72-seat National Assembly, the liberal opposition Movement for Democracy party won an absolute majority with 54 percent and 40 seats, ousting the incumbent African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde, which received 38 percent and 29 seats. The Cape Verdean Independent and Democratic Union won 7 percent and 3 seats.
Central African Republic: Following a series of delays, elections for the 131-seat National Assembly were held on February 14, with a runoff vote on March 31. The National Union for Democracy and Progress and former prime minister Anicet-Georges Dologuélé’s Union for Central African Renewal each won 13 seats. The Central African Democratic Rally won 10 seats, the Central African People’s Liberation Movement, 9 seats; the National Convergence “Kwa Na Kwa” party of former president François Bozizé, 7 seats; independent candidates, 56 seats; and smaller parties, the remaining 23 seats.
Chad: In the April 10 presidential election, incumbent Idriss Déby of the Patriotic Salvation Movement, who has been in power for 26 years, was reelected with 62 percent of the vote. Déby’s closest competitor, opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo of the National Union for Democracy and Renewal, received 13 percent, and Moundou city mayor Laoukein Kourayo Médard, [End Page 181] running as an independent, won 11 percent. Seven other candidates won less than 6 percent each. The run-up to the vote was marred by a clampdown on demonstrations by human-rights groups, and four opposition candidates were barred from running. On election day, the government imposed an Internet and social-media blackout. Despite an appeal from opposition candidates alleging ballot irregularities, the Constitutional Council validated the results.
Comoros: In the three-way presidential runoff held on April 10, former president Azali Assoumani of the Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros won 41 percent, narrowly defeating Vice-President Mohamed Ali Soilihi of the Union for the Development of the Comoros, who received 40 percent. Mouigni Baraka of the Democratic Rally of the Comoros came in third with 19 percent. In the February 21 first-round vote, Soilihi led with 18 percent, while Baraka and Assoumani each received 15 percent.
Congo (Brazzaville): In the March 20 presidential election, incumbent Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the ruling Congolese Labor Party (PCT), who has been in power for most of the last 30 years, won 60 percent. Guy Brice Parfait Kolélas of the Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development received 15 percent, and former army chief Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, running as an independent, received 14 percent. Six other candidates received less than 5 percent each. International observers cited serious irregularities, including a government-led communications blackout during the vote, as well as intimidation and arrests of opposition supporters. Opposition candidates conceded defeat in an attempt to minimize mounting postelection violence.
Djibouti: In the April 8 presidential election, incumbent Ismail Omar Guelleh—who has served as president since 1999 and leads the Union for the Presidential Majority coalition—was reelected with 87 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, Omar Elmi Khaireh of the opposition Union for National Salvation (USN) coalition, received only 7 percent, while four other candidates received less than 2 percent each. The election was boycotted by four of the seven opposition parties in the USN coalition after Guelleh reversed his earlier decision not to run. African Union election observers concluded the vote was “free,” yet marred by breaches of the country’s electoral law. Opposition leaders rejected the results, alleging that only around a quarter of the population was eligible to vote, and demanded the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the electoral outcome.
Dominican Republic: In the May 15 presidential election, incumbent Danilo Medina of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) won 62 percent, defeating his closest rival, Luis Abinader of the...