Niger court blocks opposition presidential candidate from elections


Niger’s constitutional court on Friday blocked main opposition leader Hama Amadou from running in December’s presidential election but gave the green light to ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum. Bazoum was among 30 candidates to have their candidacy approved by the court.

The court also blocked a dozen other candidates from taking part in the first round of the presidential election, coupled with legislative polls, set for December 27.

“The Court declares ineligible for the presidential election Hama Amadou du Moden of the Nigerian Democratic Movement,” court president Bouba Mahamane said without giving any reason during a hearing in Niamey.

Amadou received a presidential pardon in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, with less than three months remaining to serve of his one-year prison sentence.

The former premier was convicted along with one of his wives in March 2017 for their alleged role in a child-trafficking ring.

Amadou was optimistic that there were no obstacles to his running again for the country’s presidency despite his past conviction for infant smuggling.

President Mahamadou Issoufou, who was elected in 2011 and 2016, is barred by term limits from running for re-election, and the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism has nominated former interior minister Bazoum to run to succeed him.