The 2018 Elections of the PSC

Date | January, 2018


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


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.


When the elections were held on 26 January, three candidates from these two regions have withdrawn their candidacy.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.