AFRICA

Here are 7 interesting elections to watch out for now that the French elections are over

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The French elections are over! But here are interesting and competitive elections coming up over the next 7 months.

May 19: Iranian Presidential Election

Who is competing?

Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is seeking a second term. Mayor of Tehran Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf and conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi are his major opponents. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is rumoured to favour Raisi due to personal and political differences with President Rouhani.

What’s at stake?

The election is a referendum on incumbent president Rouhani to test if Iranians still have confidence in his administration. Rouhani faced enormous backlash following his nuclear deal with America to limit Iran’s nuclear program inorder to have some sanctions lifted. There has been distrust of the deal since Donald Trump took office and referred to the deal as “a disaster.”

June 8: UK General Election

Who is competing?

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing her first competitive election since she took over from David Cameron. She represents the Conservative Party as lead candidate. She faces stiff competition from the Labour Party, National Party and the Liberal Democrats.

The polls have also knighted her as favourite to win the elections in June.

What’s at stake?

The ongoing Brexit negotiations will begin after the elections, and May will need the majority to strengthen her negotiations.  It will also give a clue on how the clamour for Scottish independence will turn out.

June 11, 18: France’s Parliamentary Election

Who is competing?

Newly minted president Emmanuel Macron’s political movement En Marche! which currently has no parliamentary seats. France’s major parties, The Socialist’s and Republicans still reeling from their presidential loss will attempt to make a come-back in parliament. The parties led by presidential aspirant Le Pen and Melenchon will also compete for seats.

What’s at stake?

Macron’s legacy. The new president will have a lot of constitutional powers only if he has majority in parliament. His political movement En Marche! has existed for a year with no strong grassroots base. If his party does not win majority in the house, he will be forced to make alliances with the other parties which might have consequences on his policies.

August 4: Rwanda’s General Elections

Who is competing?

President Paul Kagame will be seeking a third, seven-year term since winning the country’s second election in 2010 with 93% of the vote.

What’s at stake?

Kagame is credited with transforming Rwanda’s economic development, boosting youth employment and advocating for technology as a tool for prosperity. Kagame has been accused of stifling free speech, restricting freedom of the press and silencing dissidents—in some cases, even alleged assassinations.

His new term will either see him maintain systemic oppression of Rwandans or allow for a more liberal society.

August 8: Kenya’s General Election

Who is competing?

Incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta and perennial challenger Raila Odinga will face off one last time in Kenya’s most expensive election. The Kenyatta and Odinga family have ruled Kenya’s politics for more than half a century, both as teammates and opponents. Uhuru’s father, Jomo Kenyatta was Kenya’s first president and Raila’s father, Jaromogi Odinga was Kenya’s first vice president. The two leaders fell out in 1966 after the ouster of Raila’s father from KANU party due to political differences. If Uhuru wins the August 8 election, this will be his last term. He will not be constitutionally eligible to contest in the 2022 presidency, and if Raila loses this election, he will not be able to contest in the next election due to his age.

What’s at stake?

Uhuru is actively trying to avoid the “one-term” president tag. Raila has rekindled old political foes and friends alike to try to end the Odinga-Kenyatta feud for one last time.

The other factor has to do with the 2022 general elections. Neither Odinga nor Kenyatta will be on the ballot in 2022. By law Kenyatta is bound to step down after two terms and Odinga has indicated that he will be a one-term president if he wins.

September 24: German’s Federal Election

Who is competing?

Three-time Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term after 12 years. Germany’s top job has no term limits. Her main challenger Social Democrat and former European Parliament President Martin Schulz will run against her in what has been one of her most unpopular election since she first took office.

What’s at stake?

Merkel’s chancellorship. She is the most influential European leader of modern times. A defeat for Merkel will see Germany lose a solid figure on Europe’s political and global affairs.

October 10: Liberia General Elections

Who is competing?

This will be the last term for Africa’s female president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Sirleaf leaves office after ten years, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and battling the Ebola crisis.

A major challenger in the elections is George Weah, an ex-footballer who was named highest ranking footballer of the 20th century. This will not be his first time contesting for the presidency.

Jewel Howard-Taylor, ex-wife of former Liberian president and warlord Charles Taylor is a challenger in the presidential run. She is considered the second most powerful woman in Liberian politics.

What’s at stake?

Liberia is a country which has been ravaged by war and the Ebola health crises. The new president will have to take on rebuilding the West African nation and strengthening an economy which has been pummeled by low global commodity prices and internal revenue generation.

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