Nigeria faces new elections

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The Independent Online
LAGOS - Nigeria's military rulers have decided to hold fresh presidential elections before relinquishing power on 27 August. Last month they annulled the polls because they believed the winner, Moshood Abiola, unfit for office, Karl Maier writes.

The decision was announced last night after a lengthy meeting in the capital, Abuja, between President Ibrahim Babangida and senior military and police officers. 'The fresh election option remains the only acceptable way for filling the political role in any democracy,' the statement said. 'Let it be known that there is no alternative to the choice of president for this country other than by democratic election,' it added.

Yesterday's decision by Gen Babangida's eight-year- old government marked yet another twist in his thrice-delayed transition to civilian rule, which has seen politicians banned and unbanned, and elections annulled.

The announcement will outrage Mr Abiola, a millionaire Muslim businessman who, as candidate for the Social Democratic Party in last month's polls, was leading his National Republican Convention rival, Bashir Tofa, before the military stepped in.