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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nigerian Election Fails, Marred by Intimidation

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Nigeria's election was a failure and must be rerun, local observers said Sunday, but the government said coup plotters were trying to discredit the poll.

The vote on Saturday in Africa's most populous nation was marred by violence, fraud and intimidation. First results on Sunday indicated continued dominance by the ruling People's Democratic Party, or PDP, as was expected.

The election was a far cry from the hoped-for display of democracy to mark the first handover from one civilian president to another in a country scarred by decades of military rule.

"We are going to call for a rerun of elections. You cannot use the result from half of the country to announce a new president," said Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of biggest local observer group.

But the government said coup plotters were trying to annul the election to wreck democracy, after failing to blow up electoral headquarters on Saturday with a gasoline tanker truck.

The truck stopped short and failed to explode.

The plotters "failed to get the international community to label Nigeria as a failed state and also incite the rank and file of the Nigerian armed forces with the sole aim of scuttling the presidential elections," Nigerian Information Minister Frank Nweke said in a statement.

Chukwuma, of the Transition Monitoring Group, said the official electoral commission had not been prepared for Saturday's vote. "In many parts of the country elections did not start on time or did not start at all," he said.

European Union observers have also expressed concern about Saturday's vote, saying they had witnessed violence, ballot-stuffing and a big shortfall in voting slips.

The chief EU observer, Max van den Berg, said he was unsure there had been any improvement over regional polls last week, when there was widespread fraud and 50 people were killed.

Around 16 people are so far known to have died in violence around Saturday's vote.

Polling stations in some areas did not open until just before the closing time.