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The African Elections Project :  your authoritative African Elections Information and Knowledge online portal, covering elections across the continent

Projecto Eleições Africanas: seu portal autorizado para informação e conhecimento sobre Eleições Africanas. Cobrindo eleições por toda Áfrca.

Le projet sur les elections en Afrique: votre portail exclusif et credible d'information et de connaissance en ligne, qui couvre les élections à travers le continent
Date:02 Jan 2018
Review of African Elections in 2017

Presidential elections are a major and significant news source on the African continent every year. 2017 was no different with four (4) significant elections taking place.

Out of these four elections three have been decided and the winners sworn into office. Rwanda and Kenya had the incumbent presidents renewing their mandate that is Paul Kagami and Uhuru Kenyatta respectively. Joao Lourenco who won Angola elections is a new face as long term president, Eduardo dos Santos resigned as president before the elections. Another new face in the fold is George Weah who won the delayed presidential elections in Liberia during the run-off held on the 26 of December 2017.

This review will take a closer look at Angola and Liberia, which produced new Presidents.

It came as a big surprise when President Eduardo dos Santos announced that he was not going to seek for re-election. Eduardo ruled as Angolan President for 37 years that made him one of the longest serving presidents in Africa.

Joao Manuel Lourenco candidature for the presidential elections received massive support from Dos Santos, who stayed as the president of the ruling party Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). Lourenco is a veteran and was part of the struggle for Angolan independence from the Portuguese.

Before being voted into power as president Manuel Lourenco served MPLA party as secretary from 1998-2003 and as vice-president since 2016. He also served as a mayor of Moxico province and as a defense minister in Dos Santos government.
There were five other candidates for the presidential polls which included Isias Henrique Ngola Samakuva of UNITA, Abel Epalanga Chivukuvuku of CASA-CE, Lucas Benghim Gonda of FNLA, Benedito Daniel of the PRS and Quintino Antonio Moreira of APN.

The August 23 poll was also meant to choose candidates for the senate position. Voter turnout was 76.83% which is 14.03% increase from the 2012 elections
The declaration of the outcome was done on 25th August where Joao Lourenco had 61.07% of the votes cast and the MPLA party won 150 seats of the legislature which is more than two-third of the total seats (220) in parliament.

In his swearing-in address, Lourenco promised economic reforms through diversification and fight nepotism which the citizens have become used to. In his effort to sanitize the system, Lourenco has sacked 60 government officials including the three of Dos Santos children.

This action has raised the hope and optimism of the international community of Angola having a blueprint of peaceful transition.

In 2006, Africa witnessed its first democratically elected female president in Liberia. President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson who is a development economist improved the Liberia economy after several years of civil war in the country but many of the marginalized complain of being neglected and their lives haven’t changed much.
Sirleaf served her maximum two term as stated in the constitution and therefore could not stand for re-election. This allowed George Oppong Weah who unsuccessfully contested Sirleaf Johnson in 2005 to now contest with new candidates which included Vice president Joseph Boakai of the ruling party (Unity Party), Charles Brumskine of Liberty Party and MacDella Cooper a Philanthropist.
The rest were Alexander B Cumming a Business Executive, Prince Johnson a former rebel leader, Jeremiah Whapoe a businessman, MacDonald A Wento of the United a People’s Party, Benoni Urey a businessman, Joseph Mills Jones former Governor of the Central Bank and Richard Miller also a businessman.
According to the country’s constitution for a candidate to be declared president-elect of the presidential elections, he or she must have received at least 50% of the votes cast.
Though Oppong Weah won the election with 38.4% of the votes cast, he failed to secure the requirement to declare him the president-elect. With the closest candidate Boakai garnering 28.8% of the votes.
A run-off election was initially set to take place on November 8 2017. However, a petition by Charles Brumskine the 2nd runner-up delayed the elections till the 26 of December 2017.
Former footballer star George Weah has won the Liberia presidential run-off with 61.5% of the vote.
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Liberia said it had received results from 5286 out of the 5390 polling stations representing 98.1% of all polling stations.
Weah garnered 720,023 votes representing 61.5% as compared to his competitor Vice President Joseph Boakai who received 451088 of votes countered representing 38.5%
Voter turnout according to the NEC was 56% compared to 75% in the first round of elections.

It means Mr Weah succeeds Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to be installed president next month, the country's first democratic transition since 1944.


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