Brazil is on tenterhooks. With five days to go before the presidential run-off on October 26th the race remains too close to call. But for the first time since the first round of voting two weeks ago the left-wing incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, has gained ground. On October 20th a poll by Datafolha put Ms Rousseff four points ahead of Aécio Neves, her centre-right challenger; last week Mr Neves was leading by a whisker. Perhaps it was only a matter of time. Ms Rousseff’s campaign, as cynical as it is formidable, has relentlessly (and unfairly) bashed the market-friendly Mr Neves for wanting to slash social programmes and govern solely for the rich elite. It has also attacked his record as governor of Minas Gerais, a big state which has just elected a governor from Ms Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) and where she beat Mr Neves in the first round (in part because the opposition vote was split between him and Marina Silva, a charismatic centrist who came third overall). “People who know Aécio don’t vote for him,” blare PT television ads, conveniently omitting to mention that whenever Mr Neves himself stood for elected office in Minas, he strolled to victory.
As Afghans prepare to vote in the presidential run-off, the senior-most United Nation official in the country has called on key stakeholders to improve the electoral process, and reminded policymakers that Afghan men, women and children should be meaningfully involved in the peace efforts and future direction of their country. “The run-off vote is an unprecedented event for Afghanistan’s democracy,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Jan Kubis.
Madagascar stages a run-off presidential election on Friday, but old rifts may persist, extending a crisis begun by a coup five years ago that deterred investors and donors of aid to one of Africa’s poorest nations. Neither candidate scored a commanding victory in October’s first round. Both rely on supporters of their respective sponsors, outgoing President Andry Rajoelina and the man he deposed with the army’s help in 2009, Marc Ravalomanana. Voters may not deliver a clear mandate to either Jean Louis Robinson, an ally of Ravalomanana, or Hery Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister backed by Rajoelina.
Maldives: No presidential run-off in Maldives tomorrow after Supreme Court order | Business Standard
Maldives’ Election Commission today halted preparations for the presidential run-off scheduled for tomorrow after the Supreme Court ordered security forces to stop any attempts to go ahead with the polls against its directives. Hundreds of supporters of Mohammed Nasheed, the front-runner in the Maldives’ presidential election, held protests against the court’s decision to postpone this weekend’s runoff. Earlier, Election Commission of Maldives chief Fuwad Taufeeq’s statement saying that the panel would go ahead with the run-off despite the Supreme Court order to postpone it had sparked confusion. In an interview to ‘Minivan News’, Taufeeq said, “We don’t believe any organisation or institution can overshadow the constitution. So we are working as per the constitution. I am trying to fulfil the national duty of the election commission. I don’t want to leave room for those who break laws and the constitution.”
The Maldives Supreme Court has postponed the second round of the country’s presidential election, due to have taken place on Saturday. The court says a new run-off date will be set once it has ruled on the case. Qasim Ibrahim, who came in third in the first round of voting, asked the court last week to annul the results, alleging electoral fraud. Mohammed Nasheed, who was forced from office in an alleged coup last year, won 45% of the vote in the first round. Mr Nasheed, who won the first free election in the Maldives in 2008, needed more than 50% to avoid a run-off against his nearest rival, Abdulla Yameen, who got 25% of the vote. Mr Yameen is the half-brother of the Maldives’ former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who led the country for 30 years. “We order the Elections Commission and other relevant state institutions to delay the second round of the presidential election scheduled for 28 September 2013 until the Supreme Court issues a verdict in this case,” the court said.
Liberians are voting in the presidential run-off despite at least one death during opposition protests and a boycott over fraud claims. Opposition candidate Winston Tubman said he was pulling out of the vote, but the election commission urged Liberians to cast their ballots. Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president, is now the only candidate.
A BBC reporter says turnout seems much lower than in the first round. The BBC’s Jonathan Paye-Layleh in central Monrovia says at the polling station where he was when voting began, just eight people were waiting to cast their ballots, compared to hundreds last month.
At least one person has died after shots were reportedly fired during an opposition protest in Monrovia ahead of Liberia’s presidential run-off. A BBC reporter saw the body of a young man who had been shot in the head.
Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate Winston Tubman has pulled out of Tuesday’s vote, alleging fraud. Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, is running for another term. She was first elected after Liberia’s first post-war election in 2005.