Niger head to polls to usher in country’s first democratic transition

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MARADI, NIGER - DECEMBER 27: A Nigerien casts his vote at the Lobbit School as voting for presidential and parliamentary elections is underway in Maradi, Niger on December 27, 2020. (Photo by Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
File Photo: MARADI, NIGER – DECEMBER 27: A Nigerien casts his vote at the Lobbit School as voting for presidential and parliamentary elections is underway in Maradi, Niger on December 27, 2020. (Photo by Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Niger goes to the polls today, Sunday, in what is a second round of a presidential election that is set to initiate the first democratic transition of power since the land locked West African nation gained independence from France in 1960.

During the first round of the elections held on December 27th 2020, 61 year old Mohamed Bazoum, President of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya), the ruling party, since 2011 led with 39.3% of the vote. While Democratic an Social Convention’s Mahamane Ousmane, aged 71, garnered 17% of the votes casted.

Sunday’s election is now a two-horse race, as candidates who came in third and fourth in the first elections are drumming up support for Bazoum, who has held several top positions including interior and foreign ministries, in outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou’s governments.

And as a result, he has vowed to carry on with Mahamadou’s policies, his top priority being making security a focal point as the country battles insurgencies, while introducing policies to revamp the economy.

On the other hand, Mahamane Ousmane, who has been termed as “the face of change” was Niger’s first democratically elected president and was ousted in a 1996 military coup.

Ousmane has been endorsed by several smaller parties and candidates of December 27th election. He has promised to bring change and tackle corruption.

Results of today’s elections are expected in the coming days.

 

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