7 African countries going to the polls in 2023

Politically there is always something happening on the African continent and this year is no different. There are several general, parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled to take place around the continent. They include South Africa’s neighbours Zimbabwe and Nigeria amongst several others. Here is a list of some of the elections to watch out for. 


African Countries Will Be Going To The Polls


Nigeria will be having two parts to their elections. On February 25, the election will be held to elect the president and vice-president. Current president Muhammadu Buhari cannot seek re-election for a third term. The federal elections which include the elections to the house of representatives and the Senate, will be held on the same date. The state elections will be held on March 11. The winners of the election will be inaugurated on May 29 2023. This is the former date of Democracy Day.

In Nigeria, the president is elected using a modified two-round system. To be elected in the first round, a candidate must receive a majority of the vote and over 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states. If no candidate passes this threshold, a second round will be held between the top candidate and the next candidate to have received a plurality of votes in the highest number of states.

Type of election: President, House of Representatives & Senate and State Assemblies & Governors

Date: February 25 2023 and March 11 2023 

Sierra Leone

The elections in Sierra Leone will be held in June. During the elections, the parliament and president will be elected. The members of parliament will be elected by proportional representation. This is after a presidential decree was issued by Julius Maada Bio in October 2022 abolishing the first-past-the-post system. The last election was held on March 7 2018.

Type of election: President, Parliamentary and Local Councils

Date: June 24 2023


The general elections in Sudan will be held in July 2023. A constitutional convention is expected to be held before the end of the transitional period to draft a permanent constitution that should define the form of government and electoral system. These elections will be the first elections since the ousting of former leader of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir who was deposed in a coup in 2019. If the elections go ahead, it will mark a move away from the military council that has been ruling the country. 


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Type of election: Presidential, Council of States, National Assembly, State Legislatures, State Governors, local

Date: June 2023 


The general elections in Liberia will elect the president and the house of representatives. Current president of Liberia, George Weah is eligible for a second term. The country’s electoral system is based on a two-round system for the president. The 73 members of the house of representatives are elected by first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies. As for the other candidates, in January 2022, Nathaniel Barnes, a former Liberian ambassador to the United States announced his intention to run for the presidency as an independent candidate.


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Type of election: Presidential 

Date: October 10 2023

Democratic Republic of Congo

General elections are going to be held on December 20 2023. This is according to the electoral calendar released on November 26 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). Elections will be held for the president, the 500 members of the national assembly and the elected members of the 26 provincial assemblies. For the first time under the country’s new constitution, the elections will also be held for members of around 300 commune (municipal) councils. These elections are the first of the 4th election cycle under the 2006 constitution. Six more elections will follow in 2024, five of which are indirect.

Type of election: General elections

Date: December 20 2023 


The election date for Gabon has not yet been determined but current president Ali Bongo Ondimba is running for re-election. The president in Gabon is elected for a seven-year term in a single round of voting by plurality. The candidate who places first is deemed the elected – regardless of whether the candidate secured an absolute majority of votes. The 143 members of the National Assembly are elected from single-member constituencies using the two-round system.

Type of election: Presidential, Legislative & Local

Date: to be confirmed 


In Zimbabwe, the country’s political parties are preparing for the country’s general elections. The exact date of the election hasn’t been announced yet by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. But the commission had revealed that it would be held either in July or August. The main parties for the elections remain the Zanu-PF and the opposition Citizens Coalition For Change (CCC). The Zanu-PF has been in power since the country gained independence. The CCC formed early this year led by the veteran politician Nelson Chamisa. Current president Emmerson Mnangagwa will likely be up against Chamisa for the main position. 

Date: to be confirmed 

Type of election: President, Senate, House of Assembly & local

Here is a list of other elections that will be taking place on the continent in 2023.