Nigeria votes in parliamentary elections

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Current president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan

Voting in parliamentary elections that took place on Saturday in Nigeria has concluded and votes are being counted after the first part of a three-round election.

The day of voting passed fairly peacefully, with only two instances of violence. In Maiduguri, at least three people were killed after a bomb went off, and a hotel in the city was set on fire. Elsewhere, a policeman was shot and killed in Borno State. On Friday, a bombing in Suleja killed between eight and ten people.

The elections were postponed for a week after many ballots and other voting materials were missing or incomplete in some regions. The difficulties were not apparent until voting had begun, and the country's Electoral Commission chose to push the date of the parliamentary elections back a week.

Saturday's elections were for 360 seats in the House of Representatives and 109 seats in the Senate. Next Saturday, presidential elections will take place, and a week from then are elections for state governors.

Current president Goodluck Jonathan is expected to win the presidential election, though his People's Democratic Party appears likely to suffer a reduction of its majority in the National Assembly, which is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

According to the Electoral Commission, the elections are a "test of honour [that]is inescapably a collective one for all Nigerians. "It is our national honour at stake, and our relevance in the affairs of the modern world being redefined."