The Candidates for the 2020 elections of the PSC

PSC candidates and elections

Date | 2 February, 2020

The tenure of ten members of the PSC (Table 1 below) serving for a two-year term is set to end at the end of March 2020. Accordingly, one of the agenda items during the summit scheduled to take place this week is the election of the ten new or returning members of the PSC. Pursuant to Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.106 (VI) of the
Sixth Ordinary Session of the Assembly delegating the power of the Assembly to elect members of PSC, under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol, to the Executive Council, the elections for the two-year term seats of the PSC will be held during the 36th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council scheduled to take place on 6 & 7 February 2020.

Table 1 PSC members whose two-year term ends in March 2020

Region States whose term ends in 2019
Central Africa Equatorial Guinea and Gabon
East Africa Djibouti and Rwanda
North Africa Morocco
Southern Africa Angola and Zimbabwe
West Africa Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo

The procedures for the election of members of the PSC are set out in the Protocol establishing the Peace and
Security Council of the AU (PSC Protocol) and the Modalities for Election of PSC Members adopted in 2004. Most notably, Article 5 (1) of the PSC Protocol states that the Council’s membership is to be decided according to the principle of ‘equitable regional representation and rotation’. In terms of regional representation, for the two-year term, while East Africa, Southern Africa and Central Africa are allocated two seats each, West Africa and North Africa are allocated three seats and one seat respectively.

In July 2019, the AU Commission sent out a Note Verbale to States Parties to the PSC Protocol indicating
the elections of ten (10) members of the PSC scheduled to take place during the February Summit and inviting them to submit candidates for the election by the dead line of 30 November 2019. After the deadline was extended to 17 December to the Eastern and Southern Africa regions, the final list of candidates received by the Office of the
Legal Counsel are the ones shown in the map below. In terms of previous record of election to the PSC, the table below offers the statistics relating to the candidates from the five regions of the AU.

Table 2 Previous membership of candidates for the 2020 PSC election

Region Available Seats in the 2020 Election States Running Years Previously Served on the Council/th>
Central Africa 2 Cameroon and Chad Cameroon was elected three times to the PSC (2004, 2006, 2012) each time for two-year term and Chad was elected four times (2008, 2010, 2014 & 2016)
Eastern Africa 2 Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan Djibouti was elected three times previously in 2010, 2012 and 2018; Ethiopia was elected three times in 2004, and 2007 for three-year term and 2014 for twoyear term; Somalia was never elected to the PSC & Sudan was elected once in 2004 for a twoyear term.
Northern Africa 1 Egypt Egypt was elected three times, in 2006 and 2012 for two-year terms and in 2016 for three-year term
Southern Africa 2 Malawi and Mozambique Malawi was elected once in 2006 for two-year term and Mozambique was elected twice in 2004 for two-year term and in 2013 for three-year term.
Western Africa 3 Benin, Ghana, Liberia, and Senegal Benin was elected twice in 2008 & 2010 for tow year term; Ghana was elected ones in 2004, although it was a candidate in 2012 before withdrawing in favor of The Gambia; Liberia was elected ones in 2018 for twoyear term; Senegal was elected twice in 2004 and 2006 on both occasions for two-year term.

Of the current list of candidates for membership of the new PSC whose term of office starts in April 2020,
Somalia is the only State Party to the PSC Protocol that never previously served on the Council. Djibouti and Liberia are standing for re-election, while the remaining candidates are running again after a period of absence from the PSC.

In terms of previous membership (rotation of membership), Ghana, Malawi and Sudan are the only candidates that served in the PSC only once. While Chad was elected four times serving a total of eight years, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Mozambique have previously served in the PSC three times serving six, seven, eight and seven years respectively. The remaining candidates were previously elected to the PSC twice.

Southern Africa remains the region that generally follows the requirement of rotation of membership. As in the past, the number of candidates fielded from the region is equal to the number of seats available for the region as per Articles 9 and 10 of the Modalities for the Election of Members of the PSC. The Central Africa and North
Africa regions also fielded the same number of candidates as seats available for the two regions.
East Africa and West Africa have higher number of candidates than the seats allocated to the two regions. In East Africa, a region known for fielding higher number of candidates than available seats, four countries are running for two seats. of the four countries, Ethiopia was a candidate for the 2019 election and lost for Kenya for the three-year term seat. West Africa, which is usually known for fielding candidates on a consensual basis, has one candidate more than the three seats available to the region.

Apart from regional representation and rotation, the PSC Protocol under Article 5(2)) and the Modalities for the
Election of Members of the PSC (Article 6) lay down additional election criteria. These include a commitment
to uphold the principles of the African Union; contribution to the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa; provision of capacity and commitment to shoulder the responsibilities entailed in
membership; respect for constitutional governance, the rule of law and human rights; and the availability of a sufficiently staffed and equipped Permanent Mission at
the AU and the UN. Looking at the list of candidates, it clearly emerges that in practice the requirements under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol don’t usually complied with and have thus become secondary to the requirements of regional representation and rotation. While the focus on regional representation and rotation makes membership in the PSC egalitarian, the failure to enforce requirements of Article 5(2) was not without its consequences for the effectiveness of the PSC.


Update on the 2020 elections of the PSC

PSC candidates and elections

Date | 10 February, 2020

Election of new members of the PSC

The election for the 10 members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) was held on 7 February 2020 at the meeting of the 36th ordinary session of the Executive Council. The election was held at the level of the Executive Council pursuant to Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.106 (VI) of the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Assembly that delegated the authority of electing members of the PSC as provided for in Article 5 of the PSC Protocol.

This brief provides an update on the conduct and result of the elections. Candidates It is not unusual that the dynamics in the regional processes for candidacy for the PSC elections to vary from region to region. While any member states fulfilling the requirements for membership of the PSC may submit its candidature, the rules on the election suggest that the selection of member states shall be conducted at the regional level.

As examined in our previous Insight on the candidates for the election of the PSC (http://www.amaniafricaet. org/images/Reports/Candidatesforthe2020electionsofth ePSC.pdf), there were 13 candidates contained in the report presented for the election of the 10 members during the Executive Council Session. In the consultation
on the candidates of the West Africa region, Liberia withdrew its candidacy, thereby giving a clean slate for the election to the PSC for the West Africa region. Accordingly, at the time of election, there were only 12 candidates.

During the election on 7 February, there were the same number of candidates as the number of seats for the four
regions of the AU, namely West Africa, Southern Africa, North Africa and Central Africa. By contrast, East Africa had two more candidates (4) than the number of seats available for election (2). While the East Africa region held consultation for having a consensus on the list of candidates, this did not yield result. When the election was held, Somalia stated the withdrawal of its candidacy in favor of Djibouti. The remaining three candidates competed for the two seats. Update on the 2020 elections of the PSC

Conduct and outcome of the election.

The elections were held in line with the PSC Protocol and the Modalities on the Elections of the PSC. The conduct
of the election followed the regional allocation of the seats of the PSC. Below is the map of the new members of the PSC elected for two years term as of 1 April 2020. In the election for the Central Africa region, during the first round Chad garnered the required 2/3rd majority vote with 35 votes and was elected. Since the second candidate for the region Cameroon did not receive the required majority vote during the first round, as the only candidate it was elected in the second round with 40 votes and 3 abstentions.

In the election for the two seats available for East Africa, following Somalia’s withdrawal the election was limited to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Sudan. Since none of the candidates received the required majority vote during the first three round of voting, the candidate with the least votes, in this case Sudan was removed from the list in accordance with the AU rules on election. In the next round, Ethiopia received the 2/3rd required majority with 36 votes. Djibouti also got re-elected in the succeeding round after receiving 36 votes and six abstentions.

For the election for the North Africa region, Egypt was the only candidate and it received the required majority vote with 43 votes and one abstention in the first round of the voting to be elected to the PSC.
For Southern Africa, Malawi and Mozambique got elected after garnering 36 and 35 votes respectively in the first round of voting. Benin, Ghana and Senegal also got elected in the first round of voting receiving 34, 34, and 34 votes respectively with two abstentions.


The 2019 elections of the PSC: Candidates for the three-year term seats of the PSC

PSC candidates and elections

Date | 2 February, 2019

The tenure of 5 members of the PSC (Table 1 below) serving for a three year term is set to end at the end of March 2019.

Region States whose term ends in 2019
Central Africa Congo
East Africa Kenya
North Africa Egypt
Southern Africa Zambia
West Africa Nigeria

Elections for these seats will be held during the thirty-fourth (34th) Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February 2019 summit. The procedures for the election of members of the PSC are set out in the Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council of the AU (PSC Protocol) and the Modalities for Election of PSC Members. Most notably, Article 5 (1) of the PSC Protocol states that the Council’s membership is to be decided according to the principle of ‘equitable regional representation and rotation’. In terms of regional representation, for the three-year term, one seat is assigned to each of the five (5) regions of the AU.

Following the established practice for AU elections, the Office of the Legal Counsel of the AU sent out a note verbal to member states parties to the PSC Protocol indicating the scheduled elections and inviting them to submit candidates from the five AU regions for the 5 seats expected to be vacant at the end of March 2019. Although the submission of candidature through regions is the preferred path, it is not uncommon that states party to the PSC Protocol directly submit their candidacy. It is the countries from West Africa and Southern Africa that regionally coordinate the submission of candidature.

Although it is not unique to it, East Africa is known for lacking regional coordination in submission of
candidatures. At the end of the period for submission of candidacy, the list of candidates the Office of the Legal Counsel received are the ones shown in the graph below.

As the list of candidates shows, the only region that did not come to an agreement on a single candidate
was East Africa. Three countries, including the incumbent, Kenya, are competing for the new threeyear
term seat. Ethiopia was a candidate during the 2018 elections but withdrew from the election, paving the way for the election of Djibouti. Sudan was a member of the Council during 2006-2007.

Of the current list of candidates for membership of the new PSC whose term of office starts in April 2019, Kenya and Nigeria are standing for re-election. The remaining candidates are running again after a period of absence from the PSC. All candidates except Sudan have served on the PSC at least twice. Lesotho served twice for a two year term. Similarly, Burundi also served for a two year term but on three occasions. Ethiopia served
two consecutive terms of three years from 2004 to 2010 and another term for a two-year period. Algeria was absent from the PSC only for the term of the PSC ending at the end of March 2019. Nigeria has been member of the PSC since 2004 and has emerged as a de facto permanent member of the PSC on the three-year term slot for West Africa.

As it can be gathered from graph 2, the number of candidates from the four regions of Central Africa,
Southern Africa, North Africa and West Africa is equal to the number of seat available for these respective regions. In East Africa, a region known for fielding higher number of candidates than available seats, three countries are running for one seat. Of these Kenya is running for election, while Sudan is running for PSC membership for the first time.

Apart from regional representation and rotation, the PSC Protocol (Article 5(2)) and the modalities for the
election of members of the PSC (Article 6) lay down additional election criteria. These include a commitment to uphold the principles of the African Union; contribution to the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa; provision of capacity and commitment to shoulder the responsibilities entailed in membership; respect for constitutional governance, the rule of law and human rights; and the availability of a sufficiently staffed and equipped Permanent Mission at the AU and the UN.

Looking at the list of candidates, there clearly is divergence in the level of compliance with these requirements. While countries such as Algeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria are known for their contribution to peace operations in Africa, they also have various levels of experiences in taking up responsibilities for regional conflict resolution initiatives. In terms of respect for constitutional governance and respect for human rights, almost all the candidates lack good track record, although the performance of some is worse than others. This is indicative that in practice the requirements under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol don’t usually count
and have thus become secondary to the requirements of regional representation and rotation.

While the focus on regional representation and rotation makes membership in the PSC egalitarian, the failure to enforce aspects of the requirements of Article 5(2) was not without its consequences for the effectiveness of the PSC. In apparent attempt to rectify this issue of effectiveness, the PSC, in the Conclusions of its Yaoundé retreat (held on 15-16 November 2012), stressed ‘the need for effective membership in the Council, including satisfying obligations elaborated in Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol’ and ‘the need for periodic review by the Assembly of the Union with a view to assessing compliance by members of the PSC’ with those obligations.’ As a March 2017 briefing note of the PSC indicated, this is one of the conclusions of the PSC retreats on its working methods that have not been implemented.

Unless a mechanism with objective standards for operationalizing this conclusion is established, it is unlikely that the requirements under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol would be followed in the election of members of the PSC. Clearly, membership of the PSC is one area that needs to be part of the reform of the PSC within the framework of the on-going AU reform.


New members of the PSC after the elections of the members for 3-year term

PSC candidates and elections

Date | 8 February, 2019

The election for the 5 members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union
(AU) was held on 8 February 2019 at the meeting of the Executive Council. The election was held at the level of the Executive Council based on the decision of the AU Assembly that delegated the authority of electing members of the PSC to the Council. This brief provides an update on the conduct and result of the elections.

Candidacy

As shown in the info-graph below, there were 7 AU member states in the list of candidates. Of the seven candidates, Kenya and Nigeria are current members of the PSC seeking re-election. There is no candidate running for election for the first time. Except Sudan, all the other candidates have served in the PSC at least two previous terms.

The dynamics in the regional processes for candidacy for the PSC elections vary from region to region. While any member states fulfilling the requirements for membership of the PSC may submit its candidature, the rules
on the election suggest that the selection of member states shall be conducted at the regional level. Yet, the level of follow up of this rule varies across different regions. While in the past most regions except Southern and West Africa finalize candidature for election in the PSC at regional level, for this year’s election the
AU Office of the Legal Counsel received the required number of candidates for all regions except East Africa. As in the past, there was no consensus between members of the East Africa region on a single candidate for the election.

East African unsuccessful negotiations

When the elections were held on 8 February, the election of the PSC was postponed for one hour on the request of the East Africa region for finalizing the negotiations between the three countries, candidates for the PSC for East Africa region. Although negotiations started early and were underway in the days leading upto the summit, no breakthrough was achieved when the Executive Council was scheduled to hold the elections. Despite the delay of the elections and the last minute negotiations, do consensus was reached between the three countries. As a
result, all the three candidates remained on the ballot for the elections.

Conduct and outcome of the elections The elections were held in line with the PSC Protocol and the Modalities on the Elections of the PSC. The conduct of the election followed the regional allocation of the seats of the PSC. In the election for the Central Africa region, the candidate (Burundi) received 42 votes, which is more votes than the 38 votes that Burundi received when it was elected to the PSC for two year term in 2016. Out of the 52 votes, there were 10 abstentions on the election of Burundi.

In the election for the two seats available for East Africa, Djibouti and Rwanda received 50 votes and 49 votes respectively. As with the elections for the Central Africa region, three abstentions were registered. For the seat allotted for Northern Africa, Algeria was elected with 48 votes and 4 abstentions. Southern Africa and West Africa candidates Lesotho and Nigeria received 49 votes and 2 abstentions and 46 votes and 3 abstentions
respectively. For the East Africa regional election to the PSC, after five rounds of elections that saw Sudan’s
withdrawal at the 4th round, Kenya was elected with 37 votes.

PSC members elected for the three-year term in February 2019 and the membership of the PSC from April 2019 are those represented below.

In terms of the criteria for the PSC elections, those that seem to apply fairly consistently
relate to regional representation and, albeit unevenly, rotation. While there are a number of countries that served on the PSC more frequently since it has come into operation in 2004, Nigeria is the only country that has been on the PSC from 2004 to date.

Implications of the elections on the dynamics in the PSC

The result of the 2019 election of the 5 members of the PSC shows that AU member states opted
for continuity. This is reflected in the re-election of two of the current members of the PSC.In terms of the dynamics of the PSC, the return of Algeria is the most notable development. Also of note is the election of Burundi. Other than the impact that these returning members could have on how certain conflict situations are dealt with, it is unlikely that the current dynamic in the PSC would change dramatically.


The 2018 Elections of the PSC

PSC candidates and elections

Date |  January, 2018

Introduction

The election for the 10 members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) was held on 26 January 2018 at the meeting of the Executive Council of the AU. This brief provides an update on the conduct and result of the elections.

Candidacy and conduct of the elections

As shown in the table below, there were 13 AU member states in the list of candidates. Of the thirteen candidates, Rwanda, Algeria, Sierra Leone and Togo are current members of the PSC seeking re-election. Liberia and Morocco run for PSC membership for the first time.

13 candidates for the 2018 PSC election and their previous membership in the PSC

Region Available Seats in the 2018 Election Candidates Years Previously Served on the Council
Central Africa 2 Equatorial Guinea and Gabon Equatorial Guinea served for two consecutive three-year tem in 2010 and 2013 and Gabon served similar terms in 2004 and 2007.
East Africa 2 Djibouti, Ethiopia and Rwanda Djibouti was member for two consecutive two-year terms in 2010 and 2012; Ethiopia served for two consecutive three-year terms (2004 and 2007) and for a two-year term in 2013; Rwanda, a member of the current PSC, served for three consecutive two- year terms in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
North Africa 1 Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia Algeria served trice for three- year term (2004, 2007 and 2013) and for a two-year term (2016); Morocco is the newest state party to the PSC standing for election for the first time; and Tunisia served for once (2008).
Southern Africa 2 Angola and Zimbabwe Angola served once for two-year term (2012) and Zimbabwe was a member for a three-year term (2010).
West Africa 3 Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo Liberia is running for the first time; Sierra Leone is ending its first membership; and Togo served for two-year term twice (2004 and 2016).

The dynamics in the regional processes for candidacy for the PSC elections vary from region to region. While any member state fulfilling the requirements for membership of the PSC may submit its candidature, the rules on the election suggest that the selection of member states shall be conducted at the regional level. Yet, the level of follow up of this rule varies across different regions. While Southern Africa and West Africa have generally followed the process of regional consultation and selection of candidatures, as the 2016 elections showed consensus on selection of candidates have been lacking in the three other regions. In this year’s elections, the level of contestation for seats allotted for the different regions has been less intense than previous years. As reflected in the table above, only East and North Africa presented more candidates than the available seats for those regions.

Withdrawals

When the elections were held on 26 January, three candidates from these two regions have withdrawn their candidacy. Ethiopia communicated its withdrawal through a note verbal of 23 January 2018 conveyed via Djibouti as Dean of the East Africa region. This withdrawal was in favor of Djibouti. Similarly, Algeria withdrew its candidacy through a 24th January 2018 Note Verbal deposited with the Office of the Legal Counsel. This withdrawal came following the withdrawal of Tunisia, which withdrew in the 2016 elections following an arrangement with Algeria.

Due to these withdrawals, there was the same number of candidates as the number of seats for the different regions when Executive Council conducted the elections on 26 January 2018.

Conduct and outcome of the elections

The elections were held in line with the modalities on the elections of the PSC and on the basis of the five regions of the AU. In the election for the two seats slotted for the Central Africa region, the two candidates namely Equatorial Guinea and Gabon (which was unsuccessful in the 2016 elections) received 50 votes and 49 votes respectively. During the elections for the two seats of the Central Africa region, two member states registered their abstention.

In the election for the two seats available for East Africa, Djibouti and Rwanda received 50 votes and 49 votes respectively. As with the elections for the Central Africa region, three abstentions were registered.

For the one seat allotted for Northern Africa, with both Algeria and Tunisia withdrawing from the election, Morocco run as the only candidate and received 39 votes and 16 abstentions.
Since there were only two candidates for the two seats slotted for Southern Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe received 48 and 49 votes respectively to win the election for the two-year membership in the PSC. Similarly, the three countries that were running for the three seats available for the West Africa region namely Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo also garnered 51, 48 and 45 votes respectively to win the election and join the PSC for the 2018-2019 two-year term. No abstention was registered with respect to the elections for these two regions.
PSC members elected for 2-year term in January 2018 and the membership of the PSC from April 2018 are those represented in the map below.

The elections of Liberia and Morocco to the PSC for the very first time has brought the number of states that have so far served on the PSC to 40 countries. As envisaged in the figure below while there are 15 member states of the AU that never served on the PSC, not all of them are parties to the PSC Protocol. Of those states that are parties to the PSC Protocol, those who attempted to join the PSC and did not succeed include Comoros and Eritrea.

In terms of the criteria for the PSC elections, those that seem to apply fairly well relate to regional representation and, albeit unevenly, rotation. While there are a number of countries that served on the PSC more frequently since it has come into operation in 2004, Nigeria is the only country that has been on the PSC from 2004 to date.

Implications of the elections on the dynamics in the PSC

The result of the 2018 election of the 10 members of the PSC shows that the two countries that run for the first time, namely Liberia and Morocco, received the highest and the lowest votes respectively in this year’s PSC elections. Three countries namely Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Togo are reelected to the PSC, the remaining five countries are returning to the PSC after a few years of absence as reflected in the table above. From the countries that will handover their seats to the new members, South Africa’s and Algeria’s absence is expected to be particularly felt both in general terms and in respect of specific conflict situations.
In terms of the dynamics of the PSC, Morocco’s election is most notable. This is sure to affect how the PSC would keep the Western Sahara conflict on its agenda and how this affects other issues on the PSC agenda. The signs for this have clearly come out during the debate on the report of the PSC on the state of peace and security in Africa and its activities considered on 29 January 2018. Morocco particularly expressed its strong objection and reservation to paragraph 15 of the decision of the Assembly on the report of the PSC relating to the Western Sahara conflict. Yet, the presence of PSC members such as Zimbabwe with strong support for the current AU approach on this conflict is anticipated to counter balance Morocco’s position.


On the PSC January 2018

PSC candidates and elections

Date |  January, 2018

The Candidates for the 2018 elections of the PSC

The tenure of ten members of the PSC (Table 1 below) serving for a two-year term is set to end at the end of March 2018.

Table 1 PSC members whose two-year term ends in March 2018

Region States whose term ends in 2013
Central Africa Burundi and Chad
East Africa Rwanda and Uganda
North Africa Algeria
Southern Africa Botswana and South Africa
West Africa Niger, Sierra Leone and Togo

Elections for these ten seats will be held during the January 2018 summit. The procedures for the election of members of the PSC are set out in the Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council of the AU (PSC Protocol) and the Modalities for Election of PSC Members. Most notably, Article 5 (1) of the PSC Protocol states that the Council’s membership is to be decided according to the principle of ‘equitable regional representation and rotation’. In terms of regional representation, for the two-year term, while East Africa, Southern Africa and Central Africa are allocated two seats each, West Africa and North Africa are allocated three seats and one seat respectively.

Table 2 Candidates for 2018 elections

Region States whose term ends in 2013
Central Africa Equatorial Guinea and Gabon
East Africa Djibouti, Ethiopia and Rwanda
North Africa Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia
Southern Africa Angola and Zimbabwe
West Africa Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo

In July 2017, the Office of the Legal Counsel of the AU sent out a note verbal to member states parties to the PSC Protocol indicating the scheduled elections and inviting them to submit candidacy for the 10 seats expected to be vacant at the end of March 2018. With only five candidates received by the end of September 2017, the Office of the Legal Counsel sent out another note verbal extending the deadline for submission of candidacy from 30 October 2017 to 15 November 2017. On the expiry of this period, the list of candidates the Office of the Legal Counsel received are the ones shown in the table below.

Table 3 Previous memberships of candidates for the 2018 PSC election

Region Available Seats in the 2018 Election Candidates Years Previously Served on the Council
Central Africa 2 Equatorial Guinea and Gabon Equatorial Guinea served for two consecutive three-year tem in 2010 and 2013 and Gabon served similar terms in 2004 and 2007.
East Africa 2 Djibouti, Ethiopia and Rwanda Djibouti was member for two consecutive two-year terms in 2010 and 2012; Ethiopia served for two consecutive three-year terms (2004 and 2007) and for a two-year term in 2013; Rwanda, a member of the current PSC, served for three consecutive two- year terms in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
North Africa 1 Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia Algeria served trice for three- year term (2004, 2007 and 2013) and for a two-year term (2016); Morocco is the newest state party to the PSC standing for election for the first time; and Tunisia served for once (2008).
Southern Africa 2 Angola and Zimbabwe Angola served once for two-year term (2012) and Zimbabwe was a member for a three-year term (2010).
West Africa 3 Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo Liberia is running for the first time; Sierra Leone is ending its first membership; and Togo served for two-year term twice (2004 and 2016).

Of the current list of candidates for membership of the new PSC whose term of office starts in April 2018, Liberia and Morocco are the only two countries that never previously served on the Council. Algeria, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Togo are standing for re-election, while the remaining candidates are running again after a period of absence from the PSC.

In terms of previous membership (rotation of membership), Angola, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Zimbabwe served in the PSC only once. Having been absent from the PSC only for three years (2010-2013), Algeria is the county that has been a member of the PSC the most from among the 2018 candidates followed by Rwanda, which, by the end of the current term of the PSC, would serve four terms. While Ethiopia has served in the PSC for three previous terms, the remaining other candidates were previously elected to the PSC only twice.

In terms of coordination with the UN Security Council (UNSC), the role of the Africa three countries that are non-permanent members of the UNSC continues to attract increasing interest. The election of Equatorial Guinea to the PSC, which has assumed its two-year non-permanent membership in January 2018, would replace the role of Egypt as joint member of both Councils.

Southern Africa remains the region that generally follows the requirement of rotation of membership. This region together with ECOWAS has been consistent in finalizing selection of candidates at regional level and submitting the required number of candidates as per Articles 9 and 10 of the Modalities for the election of members of the PSC.

As it can be gathered from table 3, the number of candidates from the three regions of Central Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa is equal to the number of seats available for these respective regions. East Africa and North Africa have higher number of candidates than the seats allocated to the two regions. In East Africa, a region known for fielding higher number of candidates than available seats, three countries are running for two seats. In the 2016 elections, Djibouti was also a candidate for a three-year term but lost to Kenya. It is anticipated that Ethiopia will withdraw its candidacy in favor of Djibouti. In North Africa, the one seat that is up for grabs is anticipated to be fiercely contested. In part, this is owing to the emergence of Morocco, following its readmission to the AU, as a candidate. Given the political dynamics in North Africa, this election will be watched very closely. Depending on whether Morocco will secure the required number of votes and join the PSC, the election may have major consequences particularly on how the PSC deals with the issues of Western Sahara, one of the constant conflict situations on the agenda of the PSC. It is to be recalled that Tunisia withdrew its candidacy for a two-year term during the 2016 elections.

Apart from regional representation and rotation, the PSC Protocol (Article 5(2)) and the modalities for the election of members of the PSC (Article 6) lay down additional election criteria. These include a commitment to uphold the principles of the African Union; contribution to the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa; provision of capacity and commitment to shoulder the responsibilities entailed in membership; respect for constitutional governance, the rule of law and human rights; and the availability of a sufficiently staffed and equipped Permanent Mission at the AU and the UN.

Looking at the list of candidates, clearly there is divergence in the level of compliance with these requirements. While countries such as Djibouti, Ethiopia and Rwanda are known for their contribution to peace operations in Africa and Angola, Algeria and Ethiopia have various levels of experiences in taking up responsibilities for regional conflict resolution initiatives, many others lack such experience. In terms of respect for constitutional governance, the only countries that standout from the candidates are Liberia and Sierra Leone, which registered smooth transition of power after competitive elections. This is indicative that in practice the requirements under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol don’t usually count and have thus become secondary to the requirements of regional representation and rotation. While the focus on regional representation and rotation makes membership in the PSC egalitarian, the failure to enforce aspects of the requirements of Article 5(2) was not without its consequences for the effectiveness of the PSC.

In apparent attempt to rectify this issue of effectiveness, the PSC, in the Conclusions of its Yaoundé retreat (held on 15-16 November 2012), stressed ‘the need for effective membership in the Council, including satisfying obligations elaborated in Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol’ and ‘the need for periodic review by the Assembly of the Union with a view to assessing compliance by members of the PSC’ with those obligations.’ As a March 2017 briefing note of the PSC indicated, this is one of the conclusions of the PSC retreats on its working methods that have not been implemented.

Unless a mechanism with objective standards for operationalizing this aspect of the Yaoundé Conclusions is established, it is unlikely that the requirements under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol would be followed in the election of members of the PSC. In any case, it is hard to imagine how a political body (AU Assembly) with the membership of all AU member states would sit in judgement of its members’ qualification in constitutional governance, rule of law and respect for human rights. Clearly, membership of the PSC is one area that can be considered for reform as part of the on-going reform of the AU that President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is spearheading.


The 2018 Elections of the PSC

PSC candidates and elections

Date | January, 2018

Introduction

The election for the 10 members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) was held on 26 January 2018 at the meeting of the Executive Council of the AU. This brief provides an update on the conduct and result of the elections.

Candidacy and conduct of the elections

As shown in the table below, there were 13 AU member states in the list of candidates. Of the thirteen candidates, Rwanda, Algeria, Sierra Leone and Togo are current members of the PSC seeking re-election. Liberia and Morocco run for PSC membership for the first time.

13 candidates for the 2018 PSC election and their previous membership in the PSC

Table

The dynamics in the regional processes for candidacy for the PSC elections vary from region to region. While any member state fulfilling the requirements for membership of the PSC may submit its candidature, the rules on the election suggest that the selection of member states shall be conducted at the regional level. Yet, the level of follow up of this rule varies across different regions. While Southern Africa and West Africa have generally followed the process of regional consultation and selection of candidatures, as the 2016 elections showed consensus on selection of candidates have been lacking in the three other regions. In this year’s elections, the level of contestation for seats allotted for the different regions has been less intense than previous years. As reflected in the table above, only East and North Africa presented more candidates than the available seats for those regions.

Withdrawals

When the elections were held on 26 January, three candidates from these two regions have withdrawn their candidacy. Ethiopia communicated its withdrawal through a note verbal of 23 January 2018 conveyed via Djibouti as Dean of the East Africa region. This withdrawal was in favor of Djibouti. Similarly, Algeria withdrew its candidacy through a 24th January 2018 Note Verbal deposited with the Office of the Legal Counsel. This withdrawal came following the withdrawal of Tunisia, which withdrew in the 2016 elections following an arrangement with Algeria.

Due to these withdrawals, there was the same number of candidates as the number of seats for the different regions when Executive Council conducted the elections on 26 January 2018.

Conduct and outcome of the elections

The elections were held in line with the modalities on the elections of the PSC and on the basis of the five regions of the AU. In the election for the two seats slotted for the Central Africa region, the two candidates namely Equatorial Guinea and Gabon (which was unsuccessful in the 2016 elections) received 50 votes and 49 votes respectively. During the elections for the two seats of the Central Africa region, two member states registered their abstention.

In the election for the two seats available for East Africa, Djibouti and Rwanda received 50 votes and 49 votes respectively. As with the elections for the Central Africa region, three abstentions were registered.

For the one seat allotted for Northern Africa, with both Algeria and Tunisia withdrawing from the election, Morocco run as the only candidate and received 39 votes and 16 abstentions.
Since there were only two candidates for the two seats slotted for Southern Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe received 48 and 49 votes respectively to win the election for the two-year membership in the PSC. Similarly, the three countries that were running for the three seats available for the West Africa region namely Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo also garnered 51, 48 and 45 votes respectively to win the election and join the PSC for the 2018-2019 two-year term. No abstention was registered with respect to the elections for these two regions.
PSC members elected for 2-year term in January 2018 and the membership of the PSC from April 2018 are those represented in the map below.


The Candidates for the 2018 elections of the PSC

PSC candidates and elections

Date | January, 2018

The tenure of ten members of the PSC (Table 1 below) serving for a two-year term is set to end at the end of March 2018.

Table

Elections for these ten seats will be held during the January 2018 summit. The procedures for the election of members of the PSC are set out in the Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council of the AU (PSC Protocol) and the Modalities for Election of PSC Members. Most notably, Article 5 (1) of the PSC Protocol states that the Council’s membership is to be decided according to the principle of ‘equitable regional representation and rotation’. In terms of regional representation, for the two-year term, while East Africa, Southern Africa and Central Africa are allocated two seats each, West Africa and North Africa are allocated three seats and one seat respectively.

Table 2

In July 2017, the Office of the Legal Counsel of the AU sent out a note verbal to member states parties to the PSC Protocol indicating the scheduled elections and inviting them to submit candidacy for the 10 seats expected to be vacant at the end of March 2018. With only five candidates received by the end of September 2017, the Office of the Legal Counsel sent out another note verbal extending the deadline for submission of candidacy from 30 October 2017 to 15 November 2017. On the expiry of this period, the list of candidates the Office of the Legal Counsel received are the ones shown in the table below.

Table 3

Of the current list of candidates for membership of the new PSC whose term of office starts in April 2018, Liberia and Morocco are the only two countries that never previously served on the Council. Algeria, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Togo are standing for re-election, while the remaining candidates are running again after a period of absence from the PSC.

In terms of previous membership (rotation of membership), Angola, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Zimbabwe served in the PSC only once. Having been absent from the PSC only for three years (2010-2013), Algeria is the county that has been a member of the PSC the most from among the 2018 candidates followed by Rwanda, which, by the end of the current term of the PSC, would serve four terms. While Ethiopia has served in the PSC for three previous terms, the remaining other candidates were previously elected to the PSC only twice.

In terms of coordination with the UN Security Council (UNSC), the role of the Africa three countries that are non-permanent members of the UNSC continues to attract increasing interest. The election of Equatorial Guinea to the PSC, which has assumed its two-year non-permanent membership in January 2018, would replace the role of Egypt as joint member of both Councils.

Southern Africa remains the region that generally follows the requirement of rotation of membership. This region together with ECOWAS has been consistent in finalizing selection of candidates at regional level and submitting the required number of candidates as per Articles 9 and 10 of the Modalities for the election of members of the PSC.

As it can be gathered from table 3, the number of candidates from the three regions of Central Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa is equal to the number of seats available for these respective regions. East Africa and North Africa have higher number of candidates than the seats allocated to the two regions. In East Africa, a region known for fielding higher number of candidates than available seats, three countries are running for two seats. In the 2016 elections, Djibouti was also a candidate for a three-year term but lost to Kenya. It is anticipated that Ethiopia will withdraw its candidacy in favor of Djibouti. In North Africa, the one seat that is up for grabs is anticipated to be fiercely contested. In part, this is owing to the emergence of Morocco, following its readmission to the AU, as a candidate. Given the political dynamics in North Africa, this election will be watched very closely. Depending on whether Morocco will secure the required number of votes and join the PSC, the election may have major consequences particularly on how the PSC deals with the issues of Western Sahara, one of the constant conflict situations on the agenda of the PSC. It is to be recalled that Tunisia withdrew its candidacy for a two-year term during the 2016 elections.

Apart from regional representation and rotation, the PSC Protocol (Article 5(2)) and the modalities for the election of members of the PSC (Article 6) lay down additional election criteria. These include a commitment to uphold the principles of the African Union; contribution to the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa; provision of capacity and commitment to shoulder the responsibilities entailed in membership; respect for constitutional governance, the rule of law and human rights; and the availability of a sufficiently staffed and equipped Permanent Mission at the AU and the UN.
Looking at the list of candidates, clearly there is divergence in the level of compliance with these requirements. While countries such as Djibouti, Ethiopia and Rwanda are known for their contribution to peace operations in Africa and Angola, Algeria and Ethiopia have various levels of experiences in taking up responsibilities for regional conflict resolution initiatives, many others lack such experience. In terms of respect for constitutional governance, the only countries that standout from the candidates are Liberia and Sierra Leone, which registered smooth transition of power after competitive elections. This is indicative that in practice the requirements under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol don’t usually count and have thus become secondary to the requirements of regional representation and rotation. While the focus on regional representation and rotation makes membership in the PSC egalitarian, the failure to enforce aspects of the requirements of Article 5(2) was not without its consequences for the effectiveness of the PSC.

In apparent attempt to rectify this issue of effectiveness, the PSC, in the Conclusions of its Yaoundé retreat (held on 15-16 November 2012), stressed ‘the need for effective membership in the Council, including satisfying obligations elaborated in Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol’ and ‘the need for periodic review by the Assembly of the Union with a view to assessing compliance by members of the PSC’ with those obligations.’ As a March 2017 briefing note of the PSC indicated, this is one of the conclusions of the PSC retreats on its working methods that have not been implemented.

Unless a mechanism with objective standards for operationalizing this aspect of the Yaoundé Conclusions is established, it is unlikely that the requirements under Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol would be followed in the election of members of the PSC. In any case, it is hard to imagine how a political body (AU Assembly) with the membership of all AU member states would sit in judgement of its members’ qualification in constitutional governance, rule of law and respect for human rights. Clearly, membership of the PSC is one area that can be considered for reform as part of the on-going reform of the AU that President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is spearheading.