Nigeria poll below international standards-monitors

ABUJA, April 22 (Reuters) — Nigeria’s presidential and regional elections fell below international standards and levels set in previous polls in the country, a U.S.-based monitoring group said on Sunday.

“Nigeria’s April 14 and April 21 elections fall below the standards set by previous Nigerian elections and international standards witnessed by IRI around the globe,” the International Republican Institute, a pro-democracy group which monitored the vote, said in a statement.

Pierre Richard Prosper, one of the leaders of the IRI monitors, told a news conference in Abuja: “The system failed the Nigerian people and suffers from a lack of credibility.”

Both the April 14 election for state governors and Saturday’s vote for the first handover from one civilian president to another, were marred by violence and widespread reports of rigging.

“The system as designed did not work. Many people were denied the opportunity to vote. The Nigerian people were failed by their leaders,” Prosper said.

The scathing IRI criticism followed a call by the Transition Monitoring Group, the biggest local observer organisation, for the election to be run again because many Nigerians were unable to vote.

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