Gunmen Fire At Buses Carrying Muslim Sri Lankan voters

 

Gunmen fired at buses carrying minority Muslim voters on Saturday as Sri Lankans elected a new president, with the powerful Rajapaksa clan eyeing a comeback seven months after Islamist extremists staged deadly bombings.

Minority Tamils and Muslims are seen as crucial in the close election, and the attack in the northwest of the island — in which no one was injured — was likely aimed at deterring people from heading to the polls.

But election chief Mahinda Deshapriya said over 80 percent of the 15.99 million electorate was estimated to have turned out Saturday, compared to 81.5 percent at the previous presidential poll in 2015.

“Comparatively this is the most peaceful presidential election we have had in this country,” Deshapriya told reporters at the end of the 10-hour voting period.

However, two women voters were injured when unidentified attackers pelted stones at their bus in the northwest region of Medawachchiya, police said.

The victims were travelling in a convoy of busses which had come under gunfire in the same region earlier in the day.

In the first attack, assailants burned tyres on the road and set up makeshift roadblocks before shooting at and pelting with stones two busses in a convoy of more than 100.

In the Tamil-dominated northern peninsula of Jaffna, meanwhile, police said they arrested 10 men they suspected of “trying to create trouble”, while also complaining that the army had illegally set up roadblocks that could stop people getting to polling stations.

Such tactics are nothing new in Sri Lanka, which emerged from a horrific civil war only a decade ago. At the 2015 election, there was a series of explosions in the north.

Supporters from rival parties meanwhile clashed in a tea plantation area 90 kilometres (55 miles) east of the capital Colombo, with two people taken to hospital with cuts, the election commission said.

Terminator vs Padman

Some 85,000 police were on duty for the election with a record 35 candidates running for president, an office with considerable power similar to the French political system.

Results could come as early as midday (0630 GMT) on Sunday if there is a clear winner, but Deshapriya said floods in three out of the 22 electoral districts had disrupted counting and warned of delays in releasing the final tallies.

One of the two frontrunners is grey-haired retired army lieutenant colonel Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, younger brother to the charismatic but controversial Mahinda Rajapaksa, president from 2005-15.

Dubbed the “Terminator” by his own family, “Gota” is promising an infrastructure blitz and better security in the wake of the Islamist attacks in April that killed 269 people.

“Gotabaya will protect our country,” construction worker Wasantha Samarajjeew, 51, said as he cast his ballot in Colombo.

His main rival is Sajith Premadasa, 52, from the governing liberal United National Party (UNP), son of assassinated ex-president Ranasinghe Premadasa.

He is also pushing development and security as well as free sanitary pads for poor women, earning him the nickname “Padman” after a famous Bollywood movie.

The Rajapaksas are adored by Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority for defeating Tamil Tiger separatists and ending a 37-year civil war in 2009.

They are detested and feared by many Tamils, who make up 15 percent of the population. The conflict ended with some 40,000 Tamil civilians allegedly killed by the army.

During Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency, Gotabaya was defence secretary and effectively ran the security forces, even allegedly overseeing “death squads” that bumped off political rivals, journalists and others.

He denies the allegations.

What also concerns Western countries, as well as India, is that strategically located Sri Lanka moved closer to China under Mahinda Rajapaksa, even allowing two Chinese submarines to dock in Colombo in 2014.

Under its Belt and Road Initiative spanning Asia and beyond, China loaned and granted Sri Lanka billions of dollars for infrastructure projects, many of which turned into white elephants and became mired in corruption allegations.

Mahinda says credit was unavailable elsewhere.

Western capitals “should give a fair chance to us”, Basil Rajapaksa, another brother, told reporters. “They can’t be monitors of this country. They must be partners.”

Sporadic Violence As Nigerians Vote In State Elections

 

Sporadic violence-marred polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states on Saturday despite a heavy security presence after a bloody run-up to the elections.

The Southern oil-rich Bayelsa and central Kogi are among seven states where gubernatorial elections are held at different times from the general election due to court rulings.

Bayelsa has been ruled by the main opposition People’s Democratic Party since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

Counting began on Saturday evening.

Election officials said results had been trickling in but voting would continue in areas where there had been stray violence.

In Bayelsa, the election was canceled in some stations in the Ogbia area following the abduction of an election official and the burning of voting materials.

Voting opened late in most polling stations in the state, with long queues forming in Yenagoa, the state capital, and elsewhere.

In Otuoke, the hometown of former President Goodluck Jonathan, party thugs fought over the late arrival and distribution of voting materials.

Many people were injured in the fracas.

The polls officially closed at 2:00 pm (1300 GMT), but electoral officials said those who had already queued up would be allowed to vote even after the deadline.

Some 900,000 voters are eligible to vote for the candidates of 45 political parties in 1,804 polling stations across Bayelsa.

The leading candidates are David Lyon of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressive Congress (APC) and PDP’s Douye Diri, a former senator.

The winner of the election will replace PDP Governor Seriake Dickson, who is stepping down after two four-year terms, the legal maximum.

The Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) said over 31,000 police had been deployed in Bayelsa, as well as 87 be gunboats, to prevent violence.

Helicopters, soldiers, riot police

Police helicopters hovered over Yenagoa, while soldiers and anti-riot police mounted roadblocks at major points, an AFP reporter said.

This week, a staffer at a radio station was shot dead and many injured during an attack on a political rally in Bayelsa, and in Kogi state, a campaign office was burnt down.

“Already there have been several instances of violence at election campaign rallies in both Bayelsa and Kogi states,” Amnesty International said.

Voters on Saturday said they wanted a peaceful election.

“We crave a free, fair and hitch-free election in Bayelsa. Everybody should be allowed to exercise his or her franchise without harassment and intimidation,” Joseph Cookey, a textile trader in the southern city of Port Harcourt, told AFP.

Housewife Alice Ebere urged “politicians to shun violence and allow the wish of people to prevail”.

In Kogi where incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello of APC is seeking re-election against Musa Wada of PDP and 22 other candidates, a boy was shot in the leg when a group of people stormed into a polling unit and snatched ballot boxes.

Local reports also said some party agents were beaten up at another polling booth in the state.

In Kogi, a total of 35,200 police had been deployed to protect some 1.5 million registered voters, according to INEC.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with 190 million people, has a long history of electoral violence, vote-buying, ballot-stuffing, and voter intimidation.

Dozens of people were killed during the 2019 general election which returned Buhari to power.

In 2011, hundreds of people were killed in post-election violence, mostly in northern Nigeria.

Buhari, the 76-year-old general who headed a military regime in the 1980s, has promised to reform the country’s electoral system to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

Bolivia’s Election Turmoil: A Timeline

 

Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned after three weeks of turmoil stemming from a disputed October 20 election in which he was declared the winner, giving him a fourth straight term.

Here is a recap of the tensions leading to his dramatic move.

Morales seeks fourth term

On October 20, Bolivians go to the polls with Morales, Latin America’s longest serving leader, seeking a fourth straight term.

His only serious challenger is centrist Carlos Mesa, president between 2003 and 2005.

Second round?

Partial results released hours after polls close put Morales on 45 percent of the votes and Mesa 38 percent, with 84 percent of ballots counted.

A margin of 10 percentage points between candidates is required to avoid a second round runoff.

Morales has won all his previous elections in the first round.

Vote count stalls

The release of official results is inexplicably stalled overnight with 84 percent of votes counted.

On October 21, international observers ask for clarification and Mesa accuses Morales of cheating to avoid a runoff.

Opposition supporters protest outside key vote counting centers in the capital, La Paz, and in other cities.

Count change

Late October 21, the election authority releases more results showing Morales edging towards an outright victory with 95 percent of the votes counted.

Organization of American States (OAS) monitors express “deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change.” Mesa alleges fraud.

Violence breaks out at protests in several cities. Mobs torch electoral offices in the cities of Sucre and Potosi, while rival supporters clash in La Paz.

Opposition strike

On October 22, opposition groups call for a nationwide general strike from midnight “until democracy and the will of the citizens are respected.”

The vice president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal resigns, criticizing what he calls mismanagement of the election count.

There are new clashes between protesters and security forces in La Paz.

‘Coup’

On October 23, Morales likens the general strike to a right-wing coup.

Mesa urges his supporters to step up protests and insists a “second round must take place.”

He says he will not recognize the results tallied by the tribunal, which he accuses of manipulating the count to help Morales win.

Clashes break out between rival demonstrators in the opposition bastion of Santa Cruz, where offices housing the electoral authority are set on fire.

Security forces and demonstrators also clash elsewhere.

Morales declares victory

On October 24, Morales claims he has won outright.

In the evening, the election authority issues final results, giving Morales has 47.08 percent of votes and Mesa 36.52 percent.

The opposition, the EU, the US, OAS, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia urge a second round.

Fresh clashes take place between rival groups, along with road blocks and demonstrations.

On October 27, Morales says that there will be no “political negotiation” and accuses his rivals of preparing a “coup”.

Call for ‘de-escalation’

On October 28, protests deepen with around 30 wounded in clashes with security forces and between supporters of Morales and Mesa at La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

On the 29, the government invites Mesa to take part in an audit of the election results by the OAS, a body that works to promote cooperation in the Americas.

The United Nations calls for an urgent “de-escalation” of tensions.

Outside audit

As outrage grows, the OAS begins to audit the election results.

On November 3, an opposition leader vows to oust Morales and appeals to the military for its support.

The death toll in the protests rises to three on November 6 with the death of a student.

On the 8th, police officers in at least three Bolivian cities join the opposition, in some cases marching in the street with them.

On November 10, the OAS announces that it found many irregularities in its analysis of the election.

Morales calls a new election, but it is too late. Two ministers and the speaker of congress resign after their homes are attacked by opposition supporters.

The commanders of the armed forces and the police add their voices to the calls for Morales to step down.

On the evening of November 10, from his native coca growing region in central Bolivia, Morales announces his resignation after nearly 14 years in power.

OAS Recommends Fresh Bolivia Elections

Map of Bolivia

 

The Organization of American States recommended Sunday canceling the first round of the Bolivian elections, held three weeks ago and claimed by the opposition as fraudulent, and holding new elections.

“The first round of the elections held last October 20 must be annulled and the electoral process must begin again, the first round taking place as soon as there are new conditions that give new guarantees for it to take place, including a newly composed electoral body,” the organization said in a press release, as thousands of Bolivians are preparing to enter a fourth week of protests demanding the annulment of the elections and the resignation of President Evo Morales.

More details later.

Spain Votes In Repeat General Election Amid Catalonia Tensions

 

Spain voted Sunday in its fourth general election in as many years amid heightened tensions over the separatist push in Catalonia that has fuelled a surge in support for upstart far-right party Vox.

The repeat polls were called after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez failed to secure support from other parties following an inconclusive election in April which saw his Socialist party win the most votes, but no working majority in parliament.

Opinion polls however suggest this new election will fail to break the deadlock. Neither the left nor the right look likely to win a ruling majority in Spain’s 350-seat parliament.

The Socialists are on track to finish top again, but with slightly fewer seats than the 123 they picked up in April, while the main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) may strengthen its parliamentary presence.

But the most striking development could be the rise of the far-right Vox party, which might even jump to third-largest in parliament, according to polling.

Party leaders from across the political spectrum urged Spaniards to head to the polls.

Sanchez told reporters after voting in Madrid that “it is very important that we all participate to strengthen our democracy” and “have the needed stability to be able to form a government”.

The last election produced a near-record 76 percent turnout, which helped Sanchez who had mobilised left-leaning voters to oppose Vox but analysts warn the numbers will likely drop this time, as Spaniards suffer election fatigue.

Voting stations will close at 8:00 pm, with results expected a few hours later.

‘Put order’

The election comes as Spain finds itself increasingly polarised by the Catalan crisis, which has deepened in recent weeks.

Less than a month ago, the Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to lengthy jail terms over their role in a failed 2017 independence bid, sparking days of angry street protests in Barcelona and other Catalan cities that sometimes turned violent.

More than 600 people were injured in the protests, which saw demonstrators torching barricades and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police.

During a TV election debate PP leader Pablo Casado called for a “real government that will put order in Catalonia”.

But the toughest line against the Catalan separatists has come from Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

“Drastic solutions are needed,” he said during his final campaign rally on Friday night in Madrid.

He then repeated his pledge to end the Catalan crisis by suspending Catalonia’s regional autonomy, banning separatist parties and arresting its regional president, Quim Torra, who has vowed to continue the secession drive.

The crowd responded by chanting “Torra to the dungeon”.

At the rally, Ana Escobedo said she has voted for the PP in the past but was drawn to Vox because of its hard line on Catalonia as well as illegal immigration.

“I think we need to take a heavy hand,” she said.

‘Remain difficult ‘

Vox won 24 seats in parliament in the last election in April, in the first significant showing by a far-right faction since Spain’s return to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

This time Vox could double that number, polls suggest.

In recent days, Sanchez has repeatedly raised the alarm about Vox’s “aggressive ultra-rightwing” policies, warning the party would drag the country back to the dark days of Franco’s dictatorship.

Spain has been caught in political paralysis since the election of December 2015 when far-left Podemos and business-friendly Ciudadanos entered parliament.

That put an end to decades of dominance of the two main parties, the PP and the Socialists, in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy.

But there is a risk Sunday’s vote will only prolong the agony.

With no single party able to secure the required 176 seats for a majority, the Socialists are likely to opt for a minority government, ING analyst Steven Trypsteen said.

“Voting intentions appear to have changed since the April election. But these changes will not make it easier to form a government, so the political situation is likely to remain difficult after this weekend’s vote,” he added.

Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg Preparing Presidential Run

(FILES) File photo dated July 24, 2019 shows Michael Bloomberg addressing the NAACP’s (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) 110th National Convention at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.

 

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing to enter the crowded race to become the Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential election, US media reported Thursday.

The 77-year-old is expected to file paperwork in at least one state this week declaring himself a candidate, according to multiple outlets including The New York Times.

Bloomberg had said back in March he wouldn’t run, but has been toying for weeks with the idea of seeking the White House after all, according to an advisor, who was quoted as saying he had yet to make a final decision.

The billionaire has, though, sent members of staff to Alabama to gather the necessary signatures required to register for that state’s primary ahead of the deadline Friday in anticipation of a bid, the reports said.

Alabama is not one of the earlier primaries but it has one of the earliest deadlines.

The move is the first clear sign that Bloomberg, long touted as a possible US presidential candidate, is getting ready to battle it out to take on President Donald Trump.

“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated –- but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” Bloomberg advisor Howard Wolfson said in a statement.

“Based on his record of accomplishment, leadership and his ability to bring people together to drive change, Mike would be able to take the fight to Trump and win,” Wolfson added, according to Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg, the co-founder and CEO of the media company that shares his name, is one of the richest people in the United States.

His huge personal wealth would likely shake up the contest at a time when frontrunner Joe Biden’s fundraising is sagging.

Bloomberg is perceived as a centrist figure close to Wall Street who views Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, two of the other Democratic frontrunners, as too left-wing.

“He thinks (leader) Joe Biden is weak and Sanders and Warren can’t win,” the New York Post quoted a source familiar with Bloomberg’s plans as saying.

Bloomberg’s entry would bloat an already crowded field of contenders, with 17 candidates currently vying for the right to take on Trump as the Democratic nominee.

‘Scared’

Bloomberg, who was elected mayor of the Big Apple in 2001 and served until 2013, is known to be opposed to some of the policies espoused by Warren and Sanders.

They regularly lash out at financiers and big corporations. Both have said they plan to hit the rich with bigger taxes.

“Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg!” tweeted Warren.

“If you’re looking for policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular, start here,” she added.

Warren accompanied the tweet with a link link to a calculator on her website which works out how much more billionaires would pay in tax under her presidency.

“The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared,” Sanders posted on Twitter, in a not-so-subtle reference to the reports about Bloomberg.

Bloomberg has switched between the Republican and Democratic parties over the years and also served as an independent mayor.

He has used some of his fortune to back Democratic politicians and fund policies that he believes in — including the fight against climate change and anti-vaping efforts.

Bloomberg considered running as an independent in 2016 but opted not to for fear of splitting the Democratic vote.

Women Ask Pope Francis For Voting Rights

Pope Francis waves as he meets with bishops during the weekly general audience on October 23, 2019 at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Catholic nuns taking part in a three-week Vatican assembly on the Amazon have urged Pope Francis to allow them to vote on the final document Saturday.

A green light from Francis would be a historic first. The Vatican has not publicly responded to the request, but an expert said it would be unusual for voting rules to be changed once the assembly, or “synod”, was under way.

Only “synod fathers” — bishops, cardinals and specially-appointed male representatives — are allowed to vote on the final document, which brings together a list of recommendations submitted to the pope.

Francis will take those recommendations into consideration when he draws up his own document in the coming months.

There are 184 bishops or cardinals with voting rights taking part — nearly two-thirds of whom come from the Pan-Amazon region, which covers nine Latin American countries.

The meeting, which ends Sunday, has also been attended by non-voting observers, auditors and experts, including 35 women.

Ecuadorian nun Ines Azucena Zambrano Jara said Friday a letter had been sent to the pontiff.

She told journalists at a press briefing that the women took an active part in the synod, with some of them defining themselves as “synod mothers”.

Specialized site Religion Digital said the 35 women had signed a petition calling for the right to vote.

The synod fathers will vote later Saturday on each paragraph in the document.

Francis bent the rules at a previous synod in 2018, allowing two lay men to vote in their capacity as superiors general of their religious orders.

There have been calls for the pontiff to extend the right to female superiors general.

AFP

Academic Wins Tunisia Presidential Poll By A Landslide

Conservative academic Kais Saied kisses the Tunisian flag as he celebrates his victory in the Tunisian presidential election in the capital Tunis on October 13, 2019. Photo Credit: FETHI BELAID / AFP

 

Conservative academic Kais Saied Sunday won a landslide victory in Tunisia’s presidential runoff, sweeping aside his rival, media magnate Nabil Karoui, state television Wataniya said.

It said he scooped almost 77 percent of the vote, compared to 23 percent for Karoui.

News of the victory triggered celebrations at the retired law professor’s election campaign offices in central Tunis, as fireworks were set off outside and supporters honked car horns.

Pound Climbs Before Vital Brexit Vote

 

The pound climbed Friday before a crucial vote on Brexit, with forex traders willing to bet that Britain’s departure from the EU will be put off again, this time for longer.

Stock markets meanwhile rallied, with investors looking past a downgrade of US growth to focus on the next round of top-level China-US trade talks.

“Despite plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise, the pound appeared to take an optimistic view ahead of Friday’s latest Brexit vote,” said Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex trading group.

“Sterling may be banking on the likely third failure of (Prime Minister) Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement leading to a substantial delay rather than a no-deal exit.”

MPs are set for a momentous vote that could end a months-long crisis or risk Britain crashing out of the EU in two weeks.

READ ALSO: US, Chinese Negotiators Resume Trade Talks

The House of Commons has twice rejected May’s withdrawal agreement, both times by large margins, but has been unable to agree any alternative — and time is running out.

The pivotal vote takes place on the day Britain was supposed to leave the European Union until May asked the bloc’s leaders last week for a little more time.

 ‘Crazy moves’ 

“Today is going to be another one of those days when traders are going to make decisions mostly based on rumours and this is going to bring crazy moves in sterling,” ThinkMarkets analyst Naeem Aslam told AFP.

In equities trading, while the past five days have been dogged by fears over the outlook for the economy, markets have enjoyed a stellar first-quarter overall, mostly on hopes of a US-China tariffs deal and prospect of lower borrowing costs.

European stocks were solidly higher by the mid-afternoon, although London’s gains were capped by sterling strength, while Wall Street started the New York trading day with gains, too.

In commodities, oil prices were headed for a strong finish to the week, having enjoyed their strongest quarter in 14 years, with Brent crude jumping 26 percent and WTI by 29 percent since the start of the year on tighter supplies.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday called on OPEC to boost oil output following the strong price rises since the beginning of 2019.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in December reached a deal with Russia and some other non-cartel producers to limit output to shore up prices.

“While OPEC, and above all (kingpin member) Saudi Arabia, appeared in November to be obeying US President Trump’s repeated demands to increase oil production, his tweets now are more likely to fall on deaf ears,” analysts at Commerzbank said Friday.

Oil futures have won support also from unrest in OPEC-member Venezuela.

“US sanctions, power outages and mismanagement are having a massive effect on Venezuela’s oil production and oil exports at present,” they added in a research note.

 Key figures around 1350 GMT 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3074 from $1.3054 at 2100 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.93 pence from 86.03 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1233 from $1.1226

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.75 yen from 110.62 yen

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,261.22

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.8 percent at 11,524.67

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 5,345.20

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,347.29

New York – Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 25,717.46 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.8 percent at 21,205.81 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 29,051.36 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 3.2 percent at 3,090.76 (close)

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 67 cents at $67.77 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 92 cents at $60.22 per barrel.

AFP

Oyo PDP Governorship Candidate Seyi Makinde, Wife Vote In Ibadan

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, has cast his vote in Ibadan North East Local Government Area.

Makinde arrived at his voting centre at about 10.20 am in Ward 011, Unit 001 in the company of his wife, Omini Makinde, to cast his ballot.

He expressed satisfaction at the conduct of the polls, adding that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had improved on logistics for the polls.

READ ALSO: Six Killed As Troops Dislodge Boko Haram Terrorists Near Communities In Borno

“I noticed some improvements. We saw that INEC officials came in early; they were here before 8:00am and voting is going on.

“I am yet to get a report from other parts of the state. But I think so far so good. INEC has done a bit better in terms of logistics.”

He, however, expressed optimism that INEC would rectify all issues relating to the elections to allow the people to exercise their civic rights.

When asked about his possible emergence as governor of the state, he stated that the will of the people would prevail.

Amosun, Wife Queue To Vote In Abeokuta

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun joins the queue in Ward 6 unit 8, Itagbangba Abeokuta South Local Government Area of the state to participate in the general elections.

 

Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, and his wife, Olufunso arrive at their polling unit to cast their votes.

The governor and his wife arrived at about 11:08 am in Ward 6 unit 8, Itagbangba Abeokuta South Local Government Area of the state to participate in the general elections.

See Photos Below:

Quick Tip: Seven Steps To Voting

The highly anticipated 2019 General Elections are only a few days away and millions of Nigerians have registered and are ready to vote. 

First-up will be the Presidential and National Assembly polls on February 16 with the governorship and state houses of assembly elections to follow on March 2.

According to INEC, there are seven steps to voting and every voter will follow the same procedure.

Below are the steps:

Step 1:

Upon arrival at the polling unit, join the queue and present yourself to the INEC official (APO111) at the polling unit who will determine whether you are at the correct polling unit and check if the photograph on the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) matches your face. If satisfied, he/she will direct you to the next INEC official (APO1).

Step 2:

The official (APO1) will request for your PVC to confirm that your card is genuine and your details, using the smart card reader. He/she will ask you to place your finger on the card reader to confirm that the PVC belongs to you by ascertaining, the card reader will contain the name, photograph and fingerprints of all those registered in their polling unit.

Step 3:

You will then meet the next official (APO11) who will request for your PVC to confirm that your name and details are in the voters’ register. Your name will be ticked and your PVC returned to you. He/ she will then apply indelible ink to the cuticle of your appropriate finger for that election to show you have been accredited to vote. (If your name is not found on the register, you will not be allowed to vote).

Step 4:

The presiding officer (PO) will stamp, signs and endorse the date at the back of the Ballot Paper. The PO will roll the ballot paper inwardly with the printed side inwards and give to you. He /she will then direct you to the voting cubicle where you vote in secret.

Step 5:

You will stain your appropriate finger for the election with the ink provided then use your stained finger to mark the space or box provided on the ballot paper for your preferred candidate/party. Roll the marked ballot paper (in the manner the PO gave to you).

Step 6:

You will then leave the voting cubicle and drop the ballot paper in the ballot box in full view of people at the polling unit.

Step 7:

You will then leave the polling unit or wait if you so choose to in an orderly and peaceful manner to watch the process up to the declaration of result.