February 2023 Election Outlook

If you’re just going to watch one election this month, make it Nigeria. The results will have consequences throughout Africa and worldwide. Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari can’t run for another term due to term limits. Of the 18 candidates seeking the presidency, there are three frontrunners: Bola Tinubu from Buhari’s All Progressives congress (APC), one of Nigeria’s two biggest parties; Atiku Abubakar from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the other major party; and wildcard Peter Obi from the Labour Party, who has built a following among young Nigerians calling themselves “Obidients.”

The biggest issue by far is security, with an Islamist insurgency in the north, separatist violence in the south, and ” and a rise in kidnappings for ransom throughout the country. In addition, inflation and unemployment have created a cost-of-living crisis for many families.

While the 2015 polls – which handed the opposition its first-ever victory – were considered credible, international and Nigerian observers found that the 2019 polls fell short, with low turnout, fraud, and violence. Election officials have said they have taken steps to address these issues, but concerns remain.

Cyprus is the other one to watch – Europe’s only full presidential system elects a new president on February 5 amid rising tensions between Turkey and Greece (exacerbated by the fact that both Turkey and Greece hold key elections later this spring and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made saber-rattling a centerpiece of his campaign for re-election).

Monaco holds parliamentary elections that will determine who runs the government, but because Prince Albert II wields enormous power as head of state, the outcome won’t change much.

Three states in India go to the polls this month: Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya,followed by other states later this year. These state elections will set the tone for next year’s Lok Sabha (parliamentary) polls, which determine who runs the government. Narendra Modi’s BJP is campaigning for a history-making third term.

Other countries are holding various regional elections. Notably, Germany is re-running Berlin’s state elections because the original vote, in September 2021, was marred by irregularities – an unusual situation for Germany.

February 5

Cyprus Presidential Election

Monaco Parliamentary Elections

Ecuador Regional and Local Elections

February 11

Nepal Indirect Presidential Election (by Parliament) Now set for March 9

February 12

Cyprus Presidential Runoff

Germany, Berlin State Elections Re-Run

Italy, Lazio and Lombardy Regional Elections

February 16

India, State Elections in Tripura

February 19

Bangladesh Indirect Presidential Election (by parliament – largely symbolic role)

February 24

Djibouti Legislative Elections

February 25

Nigeria General Elections

February 27

India, State Elections in Nagaland and Meghalaya

February 28

United States, Mayoral Election in Chicago

Date TBD (due in or by February 2023)

Jamaica Local Elections (long overdue – date not set yet – additional delays possible)

Voting in Nigeria’s 2015 elections in the capital, Abuja. Photo credit: Flickr/U.S. Embassy – Idika Onyukwu (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Previous: January 2023 Elections

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