Nov. 25, 2013, 2:05 p.m.
Honduras: The presidential election held on 24 November ended in confusion after two candidates declared victory and multiple candidates denounced the results as fraudulent. With only half of votes counted and the election commission holding off on declaring a winner, left-wing candidate Xiomara CASTRO declared victory despite being 6 points behind right-wing candidate Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ in the vote count. HERNANDEZ then declared victory, and began to receive congratulations from foreign leaders, prompting CASTRO’s husband, controversial former President Manuel ZELAYA to claim the election had been “stolen,” a sentiment echoed by fourth-place candidate Salvador NASRALLA. Although international election observers have indicated that the elections were largely free of irregularities, ZELAYA has promised to release evidence of foul play, a move which risks inciting his supporters to take to the streets in the already violence-plagued and politically-unstable country.
Madagascar: Madagascar’s government has replaced 8 civilian governors with military figures ahead of the 20 December runoff presidential election. While President RAJOELINA claims the move was made for security purposes, many question the military’s neutrality due to its role in the coup d’état that placed RAJOELINA in power. Supporters of ousted President Marc RAVALOMANANA fear that the military is biased against the candidate endorsed by the former president and will pressure voters to vote for RAJOELINA’s candidate in these 8 strategic governorships. Both RAJOELINA and RAVALOMANANA’s wife were barred from running in the election, but their two chosen proxy candidates received the most votes in the first round of voting and will face off in the second round of the election.
Nepal: The first half of the results of the Nepali Constituent Assembly election held on 19 November has been released. Of the 240 directly elected seats, the Nepali Congress Party won 105, the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) won 91, and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) won 26. Although Nepal’s election commission is still counting the votes that will be used to allocate the remainder of the seats, which will be distributed to parties in proportion to their vote counts, the Maoists have demanded an independent probe into irregularities and threatened to boycott the legislature after the initial results suggested a poor result for the once-dominant party. The final results and allocation of seats are expected to be released by the end of the week.
Nigeria: The widespread irregularities in the gubernatorial and senatorial elections last week, held in Anambra and Delta states respectively, cast doubt on the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to competently and neutrally administer the parliamentary elections in 2015. The two elections experienced severe logistical issues, with the absence of personnel and materials in selective areas suggesting political motivations. Furthermore, INEC did not enforce and in some instances allegedly approved blatant disregard for electoral regulations, including cash-for-vote transactions, widespread ballot tampering, hate speech, and selective deletion of names from the voter registry. Civil society groups such as the Alliance for Credible Elections – Nigeria and others are calling for holistic electoral reform to improve regulatory institutions before the important elections in 2015.
(Image Credit: cnn.com)