As the dust settles on Kenya’s divisive repeat elections, there is an understandable urge to move forward, to return to a sense of normalcy. Kenya is, after all, the most vibrant economy in the East African region and a bulwark against instability issuing from fragile neighbours.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 166, October 2017
The electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this week announced that elections will be postponed until 2019. Elections originally scheduled for December 2016 were pushed back by a year in an agreement struck on 31 December 2016, to accommodate government concerns around an updated voters’ roll with the growing urgency of holding elections.
Tomorrow, Liberia will hold an election marking its first post-war handover of power. Cited by political analysts as ‘highly unpredictable’, the ballot will reshape Liberia’s political landscape and may have an impact on peace and security, governance, development and economic growth.
On 8 August Kenyans head to the polls to elect a president, parliament and local officials. The world will be watching closely as the two main candidates face each other for the second time. Uhuru Kenyatta (55) defeated Raila Odinga (72) in 2013 with 50.5% of the vote against 43.7%. Latest opinion polls agree that this contest will be tight, but differ on who is leading. IPSOS Kenya gauges 47% for Kenyatta and 43% for Odinga. Infotrak has Odinga narrowly ahead: 47% vs 46%. However, given the failures of opinion polls during the Brexit vote and the US Presidential elections last year, and stated error margins of around 2%, it seems too close to call.
In 1979 Iran underwent an Islamic Revolution, surprising ‘experts’ around the world and transforming its country from a United States-supported monarchy to an Islamic Republic. The ideology of the revolution was rooted in teachings spread by Ayatollah Khomeini. His firm belief in the need for jurists who were experts in Islamic law and could act as guardians of the people came to shape not only the revolution but the new constitution, system of government, and the electoral system.
On 7 May 2017, the French people spoke and elected Emmanuel Macron as their next President of the Republic. Gathering 66.06% of the votes against 33.94% for his opponent Marine Le Pen from the far-right Front National, this second round concludes an unprecedented presidential race in several respects. Beyond the victory of a newcomer in French politics, these elections marked a harsh side-lining of the two main parties – the Parti Socialiste and Les Républicains – as well as the significant rise of populist movements. While France faces a drastically altered political landscape, this election also matters for Africa.
On 29 April, President Donald J Trump reached 100 days in office as president of the United States. A controversial head of state, whose election campaign and subsequent ascension to power was met with widespread criticism and resistance, particularly from large US cities, the dust certainly has not settled by now for his administration. Instead of assuaging fears and infusing greater certainty into global affairs, the announcement that his budget intends to cut $1 billion dollars in foreign aid and diplomacy to fund various ‘America First’ projects has the rest of the world concerned about the fate of peace, security and development.
Sunday 23 April saw French citizens vote in the first stage of their presidential elections, with a second run-off stage for the two lead candidates Emmanuel Macron (of En Marche!) and Marine Le Pen (of the National Front) on 7 May. While Macron won a majority of the vote (65.8%) in the second round, the pertinent conversation to be had is not one of victories and losses, but one of opinions rather than outcomes – opinions that veer strongly towards the favourite new buzzword in politics: populism.
After his inauguration on Friday, Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. His decidedly short inauguration speech evoked his central narrative of populism and domestic focus, with very little foray into policy detail.
Before fleeing over the weekend, President Yahya Jammeh plunged his country into a political crisis whose outcome will resonate far beyond Gambia’s borders. Having conceded victory to opposition candidate Adama Barrow after the 1 December election, Jammeh reversed himself a week later.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 158, January 2017
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 157, January 2017
Donald Trump's election as the 45th President of the United States of America was announced on 10 November 2016 - a day set to be remembered in history books.
The 2016 elections of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were scheduled for mid-September this year, and then postponed to 27 November. But the country is still nowhere near being ready to conduct a legitimate vote, and tensions there are reaching critical levels. What should South Africa be doing to help?
'Help'. That was the one-word message I received from my contact in the DRC. It was enough to tell me everything I needed to know.
The historic and shocking victory of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America was announced on 10 November 2016. Flummoxed by what is now being dubbed ‘the biggest political upset in modern history’, global markets shuddered, commentators reeled; and we all stood momentarily, mouths agape, letting the news set in.
Eight years ago the American people voted for “Yes, we can”, Barack Obama’s politics of hope. Eight years ago many across the world were celebrating the election of the first African-American president and the new politics that it might bring. But over the last eight years we have seen a rise in political extremes both in the US and across Europe.
At long last, the most bruising and sometimes farcical election in recent US history has come to a close. What seemed unthinkable to many just a year ago has happened and Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. While markets have slumped in response, one thing is certain: nearly half of the US population is now faced with a president that they resolutely view as unfit to lead.
In the run-up to this year’s presidential elections in the US, SAIIA’s experts will be providing weekly updates on the key developments, with a view to how the issues at stake might affect South Africa and Africa.