Nigeria's ruling party to pick presidential candidate

Jonathan's accidental route to power interrupts an agreement in the PDP that power should rotate between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south every two terms.

Nigeria's ruling party to pick presidential candidate

Nigeria's ruling party picks a presidential candidate Thursday for April's landmark elections amid disagreements.

President Goodluck Jonathan, thrust into office in May after the death of his predecessor, and ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar are competing to win the Peoples Democratic Party nomination.

But Jonathan's accidental route to power interrupts an agreement in the PDP that power should rotate between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south every two terms. As a southerner, he faces stiff opposition standing for what would have been the second term of Yar'Adua -- a northerner.

The primary vote is set to take place in the capital's Eagle Square, where thousands of party delegates will cast ballots.

Heavy security has been deployed in Abuja, which has been hit by two bomb attacks since October.

The PDP has won every presidential election since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

The secret service and anti-riot police closed off streets around Abuja's Eagle Square, the parade ground where the PDP convention will be held, late on Wednesday.

Some 5,000 delegates from the 36 states will take part. Each state delegation will vote in turn, choosing between Jonathan, Abubakar, and veteran politician Sarah Jibril, the only female candidate and seen as a rank outsider.

The process is due to start in the early afternoon and counting will begin straight afterwards. A simple majority wins and results are expected in the early hours of Friday.

Africa's most populous nation is a patchwork of more than 200 ethnic groups, roughly equally divided between Muslims and Christians who generally live peacefully side by side.


Agencies

Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2011, 14:24
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