2023 Elections Monitoring

The year 2023 marked the conclusion of 14 elections in Africa. Out of the 14 elections, five (5) were held in Western Africa (Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone), three (3) in Northern Africa (Egypt, Mauritania, and Tunisia), and two (2) in Southern Africa (Eswatini, Zimbabwe), Central Africa (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon), and Eastern Africa (Djibouti, Madagascar), respectively.

On 16 November 2023, the Republic of Madagascar held its presidential election. 13 male candidates vied for the position of President. Subsequently, incumbent President Andry Rajoelina of the Young Malagasies Determined Party emerged as the winner, securing a second 5-year term after receiving 58.95% of the votes, eliminating the need for a second round. Voter turnout on election day was 46%, considered the lowest in the island nation's history.

On 20 December 2023, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held its presidential and parliamentary elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) declared the incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi of Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the winner with 73% of the votes. Moise Katumbi of Together for the Republic obtained 18% of the votes, Martin Fayulu, Lamuka coalition, 5%, and Denis Mukwege, a renowned physician for treating women brutalized by sexual violence in Eastern Congo, received less than 1%. In the parliamentary elections, the Sacred Union of the Nation Coalition and its allies won 450 out of 477 confirmed seats in the National Assembly. President Tshisekedi UDPS received the most votes of the Coalition parties and 69 seats. 

By: Jeptum Tuitoek

The Republic of Liberia’s presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 10 October 2023. As no presidential candidate received a majority of votes in the first round, a runoff election was held on 14 November 2023. Opposition leader Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party received a majority vote of 50.64% and was declared the winner, defeating the incumbent George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), who received 49.36%. In the parliamentary polls, Liberians set out to elect all members of the House of Representatives and half of the members of the Senate. The CDC obtained 25 of the 73 seats in the House of Representatives and of the 15 seats in the Liberian Senate. The Unity Party secured 11 seats in the House of Representatives and one in the Liberian Senate. Independent candidates secured 19 House of Representatives seats and 6 Senate seats.

On 30 August 2023, only hours after the incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba was declared winner in the Gabonese Republic’s presidential elections, a group of Gabonese military officers, calling themselves Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), seized power and placed President Ali Bongo was temporarily placed under house arrest. The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) condemned the coup, and Gabon’s membership in the two organisations was suspended. In denouncing the coup, the AU Commission President Moussa Faki said it violated the AU’s norms on elections, democracy, and governance. Days later, on 4 September, General Brice Oligui Nguema was sworn in as the Transitional President and presented his government., which included seven female ministers.

On 10 – 12 December 2023, the Arab Republic of Egypt held its presidential election. The incumbent President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was declared the winner, securing a historic third term in office. President el-Sisi, running as an independent, received 89.60% of the votes. As he secured a majority of votes, a second round of elections was not held. Despite the reported feeling that the election was a forgone conclusion and there were no serious challengers to Mr el-Sisi,  67% of voters participated in the polls. It represents an increase from the 2018 presidential polls when 47% of voters did.

By: Naomi Ndifon

On 29 September 2023, more than 580,000 registered voters gathered to elect the 59 members of the Kingdom of Eswatini’s House of Assembly. Women made up 54% of the voters. Although women made up a significant portion of voters, few female candidates were elected, and women remain underrepresented in parliament.

By: Agnes Miriam

The Republic of Zimbabwe held its presidential and parliamentary elections on 23 August 2023. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced Incumbent Emmerson D. Mnangagwa of the Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) was re-elected president with 52.6% of the votes. His opponent, Mr Nelson Chamisa, opposition leader of the Citizen’s Coalition for Change (CCC), received 44% of the votes. ZANU-PF also won the most seats in both houses of parliament, obtaining 33 out of 60 seats in the Senate and 175 out of 280 seats in the National Assembly. The CCC won 27 seats in the Senate and 104 in the National Assembly. One parliamentary seat is vacant at the time of writing.

By: Naomi Ndifon

On the 24th of June 2023, Sierra Leoneans gathered across 11,832 polling stations to elect their new President and Members of Parliament. Out of the 13 presidential candidates, incumbent President Julius Maada Bio, leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), won with 56% of the votes, avoiding a run-off and securing a second term as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The results were, however, rejected by Dr Samura Kamara of the All People’s Congress (APC), who stated that they were not credible, citing irregularities and lack of transparency. The SLPP also secured 56.45% of the votes (81 out of the 135 seats at stake), with the APC receiving 45.67% (54 out of 135 seats.) Notably, the 2023 elections saw a record number of women elected to Parliament.

By: Jeptum Tuitoek

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania held its first round of legislative elections on May 13, 2023, followed by a second round on May 27, 2023. The Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) announced that the ruling party, El Insaf, won the election, securing107 (35.25%) out of the 176 parliamentary seats. Tewassoul became the second-largest party in the National Assembly with 11 seats (10.3%). Interest in the election was high, with a reported 72% turnout. The 2023 elections were the first to be held following the 2022 agreement between the government and the political parties to have elections during the year's first half for climatic and logistical reasons. Previously, elections were held in September.

On 4 June 2023, Bissau-Guineans gathered across the country to elect their new members of parliament. It was the first election since President Umaro Sissoco Embaló dissolved Guinea-Bissau’s 10th parliament in May 2022. The opposition coalition Inclusive Alliance Platform (Terra Ranka), led by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), won most of the seats in the elections, 54 out of 102.

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