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Albright: Election failed Nigerian people

April 24, 2007 at 11:51 PM

ABUJA, Nigeria, April 24 (UPI) -- The Nigerian electoral process failed the country's people, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said as she presented a post-election report.

Albright headed an observer team for the National Democratic Institute. She detailed a series of problems Monday, including stuffing of ballot boxes, polling places that failed to open or closed early, and inadequate materials at polling places, The Lagos Vanguard reported.

"The cumulative effect of the serious problems the delegation witnessed

substantially compromised the integrity of the electoral process," she said.

Problems with the hours at polling places were likely to have "disenfranchised many prospective voters."

While Albright described the presidential election as a "step backward" for Nigeria, she said there are many hopeful signs in the country, including an independent judiciary and press.

The election was supposed to be a milestone for Nigeria with the first passing of the presidency from one democratically elected leader to another.

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