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What to watch for as election season sweeps across Africa

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Sunday Alamba/AP

(Read caption) A man reads a newspaper with headline "Electoral Commission Chairman Attahiru Jega Apologies for elections postponement," published in Lagos, Nigeria on April 3. Nigeria postponed its National Assembly elections Saturday as ballots and tally sheets remained missing from polling places throughout the nation, a worrying sign as the oil-rich nation faces a month of crucial polls.

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With so much news coming out of Africa this week – ongoing civil wars and foreign interventions in Libya and Ivory Coast, a diplomatic transition in Sudan, and a tragic plane crash in Congo – I want to make sure there is some coverage of elections taking place in West and East Africa, including but not limited to Nigeria’s vote.

The calendar runs as follows:

  • April 8: Presidential elections in Djibouti
  • April 9: National Assembly elections in Nigeria
  • April 16: Presidential elections in Nigeria
  • April 17: Parliamentary elections in Benin
  • April 24: Senatorial elections in Mauritania
  • April 26: State elections in Nigeria
  • May 8: Presidential elections in Chad (there are conflicting dates for this vote, but I am following All Africa’s electoral calendar, available on their homepage)

Here is an outline of the major issues at stake in each country:

Djibouti

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