The party of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to lose after votes from Saturday’s National Assembly elections are counted, according media reports.
President Jonathan’s ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) has won every national election since 1999.
While final results have not been confirmed, a preliminary count shows that two newly founded parties fared especially well in the election, according to the Financial Times.
In the southwest, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) gained support and in the north, voters favored candidates from the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
Despite recent bombings in two cities that left 20 people dead, the election was seen as unusually peaceful being called the most free and fair in the country in decades. In order to prevent rigging and intimidation, authorities ordered tight security at polling stations.
Two short-term postponements of the vote, which was originally scheduled for April 2, contributed to a low turnout of less than half of the country’s 74 million registered voters, according an observer quoted by the Financial Times.
President Jonathan is still leading the polls in presidential elections scheduled for April 16. Gubernatorial elections are scheduled 10 days later.
Nigeria, as Africa's most populous and oil-rich country has experienced occasional deadly outbreaks of violence between its numerous ethnic groups. The majority of Nigerians live below the poverty line.