Niger’s ruling occasion candidate Mohamed Bazoum took an early lead within the second spherical of the West African nation’s presidential election, information launched by the electoral fee confirmed on Monday.
Provisional outcomes from 38 out of 266 constituencies confirmed that Bazoum was in a snug lead, successful a 54.1% share of votes counted up to now towards his primary challenger and former president Mahamane Ousmane, in line with Niger’s electoral fee.
Nigeriens went to the polls on Sunday within the second spherical of the nation’s presidential election. The runoff between the 2 political heavyweights is anticipated tol pave the best way for Niger’sfirst democratic transition of energy since independence from France greater than six a long time in the past.
Ousmane, who took practically 17% of the vote within the first spherical, can rely on the help of a coalition of 18 opposition events in addition to Hama Amadou, beforehand considered essentially the most formidable candidate towards Bazoum. However Amadou was banned from operating due to a conviction for child trafficking which he has slammed as politically motivated.
A number of lifeless in car blast
As voting got here to an finish, at the least seven folks had been killed and three extra had been significantly injured when a car belonging to the electoral fee hit a landmine.
The blast befell within the rural commune of Dargol in Tillabery area, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Niger’s capital Niamey within the so-called tri-border area the place Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso converge.
“This can be a painful second. It’s a nice shock for us, for us all,” mentioned Inside Minister Alkache Alhada.
Addine Agalass, an advisor to the governor of Tillabery, advised The Related Press by telephone, “It is 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 am proud to be the primary democratically elected president in our historical past to have the ability to cross the baton to a different democratically elected president,” mentioned Issoufou as he voted in Niamey.
Hundreds of troopers had been deployed, to make sure a peaceable switch of energy. Election outcomes are anticipated in a number of days.
The 2 candidates vying to exchange Issoufou are political stalwarts within the West African nation, which is likely one of the poorest on this planet.
Mohamed Bazoum, Issoufou’s right-hand, is broadly seen as the favourite after successful 39.3% of the vote within the first spherical. He has vowed to proceed Issoufou’s insurance policies, with a concentrate on safety and revamping the financial system. He has the backing of the candidates who got here third and fourth within 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 within the first spherical and has the endorsement of a couple of dozen smaller events and candidates. He has vowed to implement change and sort out corruption.
Ousmane additionally expressed issues about electoral fraud and confused that Nigeriens are “not keen to tolerate rigged elections.”
“The suffrage of the residents have to be revered,” Ousmane advised reporters after he voted within the metropolis of Zinder. “If residents ever discover out that these elections have been rigged once more, I concern that the state of affairs will likely be tough to handle,” he added.
Relative ‘calm’ in southeast Niger
Magagi Ganda Aissa, a Niamey-based civil society member, mentioned she was “not conscious” of any incidents of voting fraud in Niger’s largest metropolis, “There have been experiences that armed folks have arrived and seized poll bins within the inside of the nation,” she added.
Based on DW correspondent Marah Mahamadou, election day Diffa within the southeast, alongside the border with Nigeria , was calm.
“We should admit that the vote went very calmly. At first, there was a bit of concern, however nothing was reported. Individuals in every single place went out to vote,” she mentioned.
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 tons of of individuals alongside the southeastern border with Nigeria.
One in every of Niger’s few exports, uranium, has been hit by a drop in worth lately, and the coronavirus pandemic has weighed on Niger’s financial system.
Political analyst Elhadj Idi Abou, primarily based in Niamey, mentioned the end result might 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 essentially the most open and the result doesn’t rely upon alliances however on the residents. Each candidates have the identical possibilities,” he advised the Reuters information company.
Niger is the poorest nation on this planet, in line with the United Nations’ growth rankings for 189 natons. Within the nation with a inhabitants of roughly 23 million and the very best delivery price on this planet, 7.4 million are eligible to vote.
Eric Topona and Sandrine Blanchard contributed to this text.