News / Africa

Nigerian Lawmakers Approve Later Elections

Voters queue to cast their vote during the governorship election at Ekulobia district in Anambra State, Nigeria, 06 Feb 2010
Voters queue to cast their vote during the governorship election at Ekulobia district in Anambra State, Nigeria, 06 Feb 2010

Nigerian lawmakers have approved a constitutional amendment that would allow elections to be postponed until April.

The elections are currently scheduled for January, but Nigeria's electoral commission has asked for more time to correct voter lists.

Both houses of parliament approved constitutional changes late Wednesday allowing elections to take place as little as 30 days before May 29, the date a new administration is due to take office.

The amendment still needs to be ratified by two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 governors.

The electoral commission has said it wants to carry out credible elections, unlike the 2007 polls that observers said were badly marred by disorder, intimidation, and fraud.

President Goodluck Jonathan is facing at least four challengers for the ruling party's presidential nomination.

People's Democratic Party members are debating whether to nominate a Christian like Mr. Jonathan or a Muslim.  The party has a custom of rotating the presidency between a northern Muslim and a southern Christian every two terms.

Mr. Jonathan's predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua, a Muslim, died in May, just three years into what was expected to be an eight-year presidency.

All four declared challengers to Mr. Jonathan are Muslims.  The challengers include Nigeria's former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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