Nigeria has announced another new schedule for nationwide elections, after postponing the first of those votes two times in two days.
Under the new schedule announced Sunday, Nigerians will cast ballots for parliament on April 9, then vote for president on April 16 and state governor positions on April 26.
The voting for parliament was abruptly postponed on Saturday, with the country’s election commission blaming problems in the distribution of voting materials. It had planned to try again Monday, but political parties said they wanted a further delay. So the first vote will now come a week later than expected.
The postponement has sparked anger and disappointment across Nigeria, and the election commission has come under sharp criticism.
Before Saturday, commission chairman Attahiru Jega had given no hint of any problems, instead saying the April elections would give Nigeria the chance to “get it right” after 2007 polls marred by violence, fraud and disorganization.
Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party is hoping to retain control of the presidency and parliament.
President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a field of challengers led by former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Jonathan is seeking his first full term after rising to power last year following the death of predecessor Umaru Yar’Adua. His run was opposed by some PDP members who accuse him of breaking an informal rule to rotate the presidential nomination between Muslims from the north and Christians from the south.
Mr. Jonathan is a Christian, while Mr. Yar’Adua was a Muslim. President Yar’Adua died just three years into what was expected to be a two-term, eight-year presidency.
Nigeria’s population of 140 million is split roughly evenly between Muslims and Christians. voa