MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour. Now, Onize Ohikere did record this for you, but she had some trouble on the upload from Nigeria.
She did manage to get us the text, and we’ll have to read it to you.
NICK EICHER, HOST: We start today in Onize’s home country, Nigeria, where voters are still waiting to select their next leader. Hours before Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, the Independent Electoral Commission announced a week-long delay.
YAKUBU: We believe that ultimately this decision is good for our democracy and for our country. I wish to assure you of our commitment to free, fair and credible elections.
The commission cited problems with distributing ballots and results. Suspected sabotage also may have played a role. Vandals set three fires at the commission’s offices in two weeks.
The election delay caused a significant hardship for many people already struggling amid the country’s economic slowdown. Voters must cast their ballots where they registered, and some must travel at great expense. The delay also sparked fears of an eventual dispute over the results of the election.
Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari said he would not tolerate any disruptions during Saturday’s rescheduled vote.
Buhari has ordered military and police forces to be “ruthless” in ensuring all Nigerians can vote.
Egypt extends presidential term—REICHARD: Next we go to Egypt where lawmakers approved constitutional amendments that could keep President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in power for another 15 years.
The amendments also give el-Sissi new control over judicial affairs, with the power to appoint top judges. Other constitutional revisions grant military courts wider jurisdiction over civilians, and names the military as “guardian and protector” of the Egyptian state.
Human rights groups blasted the changes for giving el-Sissi unprecedented, unilateral authority.
Unrest in Haiti—EICHER: Next we go to Haiti…
AUDIO: [Sound of Haitian protests]
Where protesters chanted “Down with the Americans, long live Putin!” Their demonstrations last week turned violent. The unrest began on February 7th over skyrocketing inflation and reports that government officials stole nearly $2 billion in relief funds. They are demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.
In a televised address to the nation…
MOISE: [Speaking Creole]
Moise said, quote— “I will not leave the country in the hands of armed gangs and drug traffickers.”
At least nine people have died during clashes with police.
Amid the violence, the U.S. called home all “non-emergency personnel” from the country and Canada temporarily closed its embassy.
Snap elections in Spain—REICHARD: Next we go to Spain, where the prime minister has called for early elections. That announcement came after parliament rejected the minority government’s preliminary budget.
SANCHEZ: [Speaking Spanish]
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said, “You can call me classic, but without a budget, you can’t rule.”
The snap vote will be the country’s third election in four years, amid ongoing political turmoil. Also last week, 12 Catalan separatist leaders – facing rebellion charges- went on trial before the Spanish Supreme Court. The two pro-Catalan independence parties in parliament voted against the government’s proposed budget, helping to force new elections.
Dresden Peace Prize—EICHER: We end today in Germany, where a famous Vietnam War survivor accepted the Dresden Peace Prize.
Kim Phuc is best known as “Napalm Girl” because of a news photograph taken in 1972 after a napalm bomb exploded in her village. Thirty percent of her body was badly scarred as her clothes burned off in the fire.
Phuc, now 55 years old and living in Canada, received the prize for speaking out against violence and supporting children wounded in war. She’s also a Christian and often speaks about how her faith in Christ enabled her to forgive her enemies.
That’s this week’s World Tour.