Despite the pandemic, most countries met their schedule in 2020
UN/MINUSCA – Despite a fragile security situation, Central Africans massively exercised their civic duty by visiting polling centres and voting.
The Central African Republic and Niger held their presidential and legislative elections on 27 December 2020, thus closing a difficult year where, despite fears of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most African countries managed to meet their electoral calendars.
However, in two of the most observed countries, the polls did not go as originally planned. In Ethiopia, parliamentary elections scheduled for 29 August have been postponed to mid-2021, while in Somalia, the deadline for parliamentary elections in December 2020 has not been met, although the scheduled date for the presidential elections in February 2021 remains on the calendar.
Elections for members of the House of People's Representatives and regional state councils throughout Ethiopia were to be held in the new political environment ushered in by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's reforms. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for ending a two-decade conflict with neighboring Eritrea.
In Somalia, the 2020 elections were to be the first in 50 years and voters were to elect the president and his representatives by direct vote. The last elections by universal suffrage in the country were held in 1969. Subsequent presidential elections, held in 2009, 2012 and 2017, involved a system of thousands of clan delegates voting for parliamentary representatives, who in turn elected the president.
In Chad, legislative elections, originally scheduled for December 13, are now scheduled for the last quarter of 2021.
Despite a fragile security situation, Central Africans massively exercised their civic duty by going to voting centers and voting. Photo: United Nations
In February, Togolese went to the polls to elect their president, just weeks before COVID-19 closed.
Then, in March, Cameroon again held legislative elections in a dozen constituencies, while on March 22, Guineans participated in a constitutional referendum and highly contested general elections.
A week later, Malians held their general elections.
In May, voters in Benin elected their local representatives, while Burundians elected their president.
In June, Malawians were called to the polls again for a new presidential election after courts invalidated the results of a previous election in 2019.
Egyptians chose their senators in August, while in October, Côte d'Ivoire, Seychelles and Tanzania held their presidential elections and Cape Verdeans elected their representatives to the city council.
November began with a constitutional referendum in Algeria on 1 November, followed by general elections in Burkina Faso on 22 November.
Then on December 7, Ghanaians held their parliamentary and presidential elections, while Liberians were called for a constitutional referendum and a mid-term senatorial election.
On December 27, the Central African Republic and Niger ended the year on elections in Africa in 2020. Central Africans voted despite attempts by some rebel groups to disrupt the vote. In Niger, the process would have been largely peaceful.
In both countries, second rounds are scheduled for the New Year, which will mark the beginning of a new cycle of the 2021 calendar on the continent.
Elections scheduled for 2021
|Benin||Presidential & Local||Apr 2021|
|Burkina Faso||Local||May 2021|
|Cape Verde||Presidential & Parliamentary||Tue 2021|
|Central African Republic||National Assembly (second round)||8 Feb 2021|
|Chad||National Assembly & Local||24 Oct 2021|
|Chad||Presidential||4 Apr 2021|
|Ivory Coast||National Assembly||Oct 2021|
|Djibouti||Presidential||8 Feb 2021|
|Ethiopia||House of Representatives||31 August 2021|
|Gambia||Presidential||4 Dec 2021|
|Libya||Presidential & Parliamentary||24 Dec 2021|
|Madagascar||Local & Senate (indirect)||2021|
|Morocco||House of Representatives, local assembly of councillors (indirect, after local)||Sep 2021|
|Niger||Presidential (second round)||21 Feb 2021|
|Republic of Congo||Presidential||31 Mar 2021|
|Senegal||Regional & Local||28 Mar 2021|
|São Tomé & Príncipe||Presidential||July 2021|
|Somalia||Presidential (indirect)||8 Feb 2021|
|Somaliland||House of Representatives and Senate||May 2021|
|South Africa||District and Municipal||August 2021|
|South Sudan||Presidential, National Assembly, Local||August 2021|
|Uganda||Presidential, National Assembly (first round)||10 Jan 2021|
|Uganda||Presidential, National Assembly (second round)||8 Feb 2021|
|Zambia||Presidential, National Assembly, Local||12 August 2021|
Africa Renewal: 4 January 2021
By: Franck Kuwonu
Source: Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA)