Niger sees first peaceful transition as Mohamed Bazoum inaugurated new president

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FILE PHOTO: Mohamed Bazoum casts his ballot at a polling station in Niamey during Niger's presidential and legislative elections. /Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: Mohamed Bazoum casts his ballot at a polling station in Niamey during Niger’s presidential and legislative elections. /Getty Images

Newly-elected Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum has been sworn into office today, taking over from Mahamadou Issoufou, who has stepped down after a decade in power.

Friday’s inauguration was the West African country’s first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960.

Various leaders from across the continent attended the swearing-in ceremony in Niamey, including Togolese President Faure E. Gnassingbe and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Bazoum, 60, has previously served as Interior Minister as well as Foreign Minister in previous governments.

He garnered more than half the share of the vote in the country’s run-off presidential election held on February 21.

His rival, Mahamane Ousmane, however rejected the election result claiming fraud.

Bazoum’s inauguration comes just two days after an attempted coup shook the country and threw the planned power transfer into question.

Among the new president’s top priorities will be tackling a deadly Islamist insurgency in the west of the country.

(With input from agencies)

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