Two election results

Nigeria

Nigeria’s postponed presidential election, held on Saturday, seems to have proceeded relatively smoothly, although turnout is apparently well down from 2015. It may be that voters who had made a fruitless trip the previous week didn’t want to waste their time again.

Incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress, was re-elected with about 56% of the vote, up from 54% last time and almost four million votes ahead of his challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party. The BBC has detailed figures, although they do not give totals for all of the 71 minor candidates.

Abubakar’s supporters have rejected the results and claimed fraud, but there is no sign of hard evidence to support the claims. While there are some flaws in the process, there is nothing implausible in the idea that voters would give Buhari a second term.

The pattern of results is similar to last time, when Buhari defeated the PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan. Although both candidates are northerners, most of Abubakar’s support came from the south. He actually carried two more states than Jonathan had, but most of his wins were closer; Buhari polled respectably even in the south-east, where in 2015 he had almost no support.

Counting for the legislative elections held at the same time is apparently still under way, but the Nigeria Guardian reports that the APC has a clear lead so far in both houses.

Moldova

Moldova went to the polls on Sunday (see preview here). Its new electoral system, designed to benefit larger parties and particularly the incumbent Democratic Party, seems to have behaved very much like the old system.

Three parties finished, as expected, reasonably close together, and they won roughly equal numbers of seats. The Socialists (pro-Russian) underperformed their polls but still led with 31.2% and 34 seats; the new pro-European alliance ACUM (“Now”) won 26.8% and 27 seats, while the equivocal Democratic Party, led by oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, scored 23.6% and 30 seats.

The only other party to clear the threshold was the Shor Party (right-wing pro-Russian) with 8.3% and seven seats. The final three seats were won by independents. (Official results are here, supplemented from news reports and from Wikipedia.)

Numbers of seats should never be taken as solid, since MPs have a habit of switching sides; it was alleged that Plahotniuc had purchased the allegiance of several MPs in the previous parliament. Nonetheless, it looks as if two of the three main parties will be required to produce a majority coalition, and that will involve some interesting bargaining.

Moldova is small and out of the way, but its apparent democratic backsliding is still a matter of concern. A much bigger test will come with neighboring Ukraine’s presidential election in a month’s time.

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