Niger ruling party candidate takes the lead in presidential runoff

Provisional outcomes from 38 out of 266 constituencies confirmed that Bazoum was in a cushty lead, successful a 54.1% share of votes counted up to now towards his major challenger and former president Mahamane Ousmane, based on Niger’s electoral fee.

Nigeriens went to the polls on Sunday in the second spherical of the nation’s presidential election. The runoff between the two political heavyweights is anticipated tol pave the method for Niger’sfirst democratic transition of power since independence from France greater than six a long time in the past.

Ousmane, who took practically 17% of the vote in the first spherical, can rely on the assist of a coalition of 18 opposition events in addition to Hama Amadou, beforehand regarded as the most formidable candidate towards Bazoum. But Amadou was banned from working due to a conviction for child trafficking which he has slammed as politically motivated.

Several deceased in car blast

As voting got here to an finish, not less than seven folks had been killed and three extra had been critically injured when a car belonging to the electoral fee hit a landmine.

The blast befell in the rural commune of Dargol in Tillabery area, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Niger’s capital Niamey in the so-called tri-border area the place Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso converge. 

“This is a painful second. It is a good shock for us, for us all,” stated Interior Minister Alkache Alhada. 

Addine Agalass, an advisor to the governor of Tillabery, advised The Associated Press by telephone, “It’s unclear if it was supposed to focus on the electoral fee officers or if it was associated to the election.”

A brand new daybreak for Niger

The vote was known as after outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou introduced he was voluntarily stepping down after two five-year phrases. 

“I’m proud to be the first democratically elected president in our historical past to have the ability to move the baton to a different democratically elected president,” stated Issoufou as he voted in Niamey. 

Thousands of troopers had been deployed, to make sure a peaceable switch of energy. Election outcomes are anticipated in a number of days. 

The two candidates vying to interchange Issoufou are political stalwarts in the West African nation, which is certainly one of the poorest in the world.

Mohamed Bazoum, Issoufou’s right-hand, is extensively seen as the favourite after successful 39.3% of the vote in the first spherical. He has vowed to proceed Issoufou’s insurance policies, with a give attention to safety and revamping the economic system. He has the backing of the candidates who got here third and fourth in the first spherical.

Mahamane Ousmane, was Niger’s first democratically elected president in 1993 till he was toppled in a coup three years later. He gained 17% of the votes in the first spherical and has the endorsement of a few dozen smaller events and candidates. He has vowed to implement change and sort out corruption.

Ousmane additionally expressed considerations about electoral fraud and harassed that Nigeriens are “now not prepared to tolerate rigged elections.” 

“The suffrage of the residents have to be revered,” Ousmane advised reporters after he voted in the metropolis of Zinder. “If residents ever discover out that these elections have been rigged once more, I worry that the scenario will likely be troublesome to handle,” he added.

Relative ‘calm’ in southeast Niger

Magagi Ganda Aissa, a Niamey-based civil society member, stated she was “not conscious” of any incidents of voting fraud in Niger’s largest metropolis, “There have been stories that armed folks have arrived and seized poll bins in the inside of the nation,” she added.

According to DW correspondent Marah Mahamadou, election day Diffa in the southeast, alongside the border with Nigeria , was calm. 

“We should admit that the vote went very calmly. At the starting, there was just a little worry, however nothing was reported. People in all places went out to vote,” she stated.

What challenges do they face?

The Sahel nation has a inhabitants of 24 million and struggles with poverty, recurring drought, floods and two festering insurgencies. Militants linked to al-Qaida and the “Islamic State” (IS) armed group have carried out a sequence of assaults close to Niger’s western border with Mali and Burkina Faso, whereas Boko Haram has killed a whole bunch of individuals alongside the southeastern border with Nigeria.

One of Niger’s few exports, uranium, has been hit by a drop in worth in latest years, and the coronavirus pandemic has weighed on Niger’s economic system.

Political analyst Elhadj Idi Abou, primarily based in Niamey, stated the consequence may go both method and that turnout was anticipated to be excessive.

“For me, there is no such thing as a favourite as a result of this poll is the most open and the end result doesn’t rely upon alliances however on the residents. Both candidates have the similar possibilities,” he advised the Reuters information company.

Niger is the poorest nation in the world, based on the United Nations’ improvement rankings for 189 natons. In the nation with a inhabitants of roughly 23 million and the highest beginning price in the world, 7.4 million are eligible to vote. 

Eric Topona and Sandrine Blanchard contributed to this text.

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