Democracy's alive and kicking in Africa this summer. Cote d'Ivoire's Election Commission reported turnout of 60 to 70 per cent in the country's long-awaited election yesterday (31 October). The UN stepped up peacekeeping operations during the day and the vote seems to have gone off relatively peacefully. Votes are now being tallied and results are expected by Wednesday.
On the same day (October 31), Niger voted in a referendum on a new constitution. Security was tight and national borders were closed for the day. The ruling junta was hoping for at least a 70 per cent turnout. The new constitution would give immunity to the leaders of the coup in February and set the stage for return to civilian rule by April 6th. First results are expected by Wednesday or Thursday. This is the first in a series of elections between now and April 2011.
Tanzania's presidential election also took place on October 31. Election authorities are expected to begin announcing results from 1 November.
Guinea's postponed to presidential run-off vote will happen on November 7. This is part of the first elections Guinea has managed in 50 years, so exciting but also complicated. The excitement is reportedly even spilling over as far as Kinshasa.
The first part of a presidential poll in the Comoros will also take place on 7 November 2010.
November 17 was set as the date for the Madagascan constitutional referendum, precursor to legislative and presidential elections in early 2011, although this may be delayed.
Burkina Faso goes to the polls on November 21st. Incumbent President, Blaise Compaore, is standing against six other candidates and is expected to take the election in a landslide victory.
The vote-fest continues in early 2011: Presidential elections in the CAR, Sudan's referendum on southern independence, legislative in Chad, Nigeria's general, Benin, Cape Verde and Uganda's legislative and presidential and a possible vote in Zimbabwe.
So, time to vote...