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Polls in Peril? West Africa’s 2020 Elections

In the last quarter of 2020, five of the 15 Economic Community of West African States member countries are facing important elections. In   October, presidential elections will take place in Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire (October), with general elections to follow in Burkina Faso November), Ghana and Niger (both December).

This edition of West Africa Insights starts with a regional overview of the state of democracy in West Africa by Idayat Hassan. She underscores the threats posed by constitutional and military coups and the need for renewed regional resolve to uphold democratic values and ensure that development and democracy go hand in hand. Four further pieces provide in-depth analysis on the upcoming elections in the region.

Jessica Moody unpacks the threats that could see violence be a key feature of Cote D’Ivoire’s 31 October election, where President Ouattara  is  standing  for  a controversial third term. In Burkina Faso, violence is also threatening to impact on the November poll, with voter registration having not taken place in parts of the country where insecurity is rife. Wendyam Lankoandé reflects on how a flawed electoral process could further erode trust in the country’s political institutions.

In Ghana, George-Bob Milliar discusses the importance of grassroot political party structures for political success and explains why both formal and informal mechanisms can be key to delivering desired electoral outcomes.

Finally in Niger, Hailmatou Hima analyses some of the key issues that will shape an election that will mark the first peaceful transfer of  power in  the  country, as President Issoufou  steps  downs  having served his second, and final, term in office.

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