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Celebrating Muhammadu Buhari's in Abuja on April 1
Celebrating Muhammadu Buhari's in Abuja on April 1

-Editorial-

PARIS — During the nail-biting four days of an election that many warned would be too close to call, Nigeria was in a collective state of high anxiety. Then, in a twist for Africa's most populous nation, a presidential election that had threatened to end in a bloodbath instead concluded peacefully with the incumbent president defeated.

The man who has been leading the country since 2010, Goodluck Jonathan, conceded defeat and congratulated his rival, Muhammadu Buhari. "I have promised this country free and fair elections," he said. "I have kept my word. Nobody's ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian." Never before in the country's history had a head of state accepted a change in power.

Nobody really knows yet what Buhari's presidency will mean for Nigeria, a country where political life has rarely been violence-free. But what prevailed after the result was announced was a series of joyful demonstrations triggered by Jonathan's "heroic" defeat and the collective hope that it would represent a turning point.

Jonathan in a way contributed to his own loss by reinforcing the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, thus guaranteeing that the electoral process would follow a proper course until the end.


Former President Goodluck Jonathan voting on March 28 — Photo: NAN/Xinhua/ZUMA

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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