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Presidential, legislative election scheduled

February 18, 2011 - UGANDA

President Yoweri Museveni, the candidate of the ruling National Resistance Movement, already Africa's longest-serving leader, will try to extend his 25-year rule by five years on Feb 18. His main challenger is Kizza Besigye of the four-party opposition coalition, Inter-Party Cooperation. The opposition wants the Electoral Commission reformed to make it independent, and could boycott the vote over the issue. The election puts Uganda's hard-won stability and economic gains on the line. Reuters quotes Jerry Lanier, the United States ambassador to Uganda, stating that failure to stage a credible, peaceful vote in the country of 22 million-plus people could trigger regional instability. The country's last elections in 2006 were marred by violence.

President Yoweri Museveni, the candidate of the ruling National Resistance Movement, already Africa's longest-serving leader, will try to extend his 25-year rule by five years on Feb 18. His main challenger is Kizza Besigye of the four-party opposition coalition, Inter-Party Cooperation. The opposition wants the Electoral Commission reformed to make it independent, and could boycott the vote over the issue.The election puts Uganda's hard-won stability and economic gains on the line. Reuters quotes Jerry Lanier, the United States ambassador to Uganda, stating that failure to stage a credible, peaceful vote in the country of 22 million-plus people could trigger regional instability. The country's last elections in 2006 were marred by violence. The main challenge comes from Besigye, who ran against Mussaveni in 2006. The other significant contenders include Uganda People's Congress (UPC) leader Olara Otunnu and Democratic Party (DP) leader Norbert Mao. The former cattle herder and student activist, who seized power on 26 Jan 1986, is standing on his record: Musaveni is widely credited with returning stability and economic vitality to an east African nation ravaged by dictatorship and civil wars in the 1970s and early 1980s. Many see his early achievements as overshadowed in recent years by his determination to hang on to power. His share of the vote has dwindled with each of the recent elections, and he faces the stiffest challenge yet if there is no boycott and the opposition coalition holds together. Uganda has a unicameral National Assembly with 305 seats. It held its first multi-party election in 2006. The ruling party holds 205 seats, followed by Besigye's FDC with 37 and the UPC's nine seats. The DP holds 8 seats. (WRITTEN DEC 2010)

Uganda's opposition threatens 2011 election boycott (Angola Press 21 May 2010)

Amin returns to Uganda campaign - years after death (AFP 12 Dec 2010)

Kenyan PM Backs Museveni in Ugandan Presidential Polls (WSJ 16 Dec 2010)

Uganda govt denies opposition election accusations (Reuters 7 Dec 2010)

Date written/update: 2011-02-18