Nigerian President Sacks EMB Head

April 29, 2010, midnight

Acting President Goodluck JONATHAN on Wednesday dismissed Nigeria's chief election official six weeks before his five-year term was to expire on June 13. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Maurice IWU in 2007 oversaw state and national elections that observers widely denounced as flawed and fraudulent. Most media strongly support JONATHAN's decision, which some speculate rested on the belief that IWU had lost public confidence. Other commentators argue that JONATHAN sought to signal commitment to farther-reaching electoral reforms. Some critics called the Acting President's move unconstitutional, arguing that Senate consent is required to dismiss an INEC Chair. IWU's supporters say that blame for the 2007 election's irregularities rests with the country's political institutions and elites in general. Some election observation reports, while critical of INEC, also pointed to a general lack of political will for free and fair elections. Others had called for IWU’s removal. Nigeria’s Judicial Council will present three possible replacements to JONATHAN and the National Council of State.

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