Niger votes in presidential runoff to usher in first democratic transition

Niger votes on Sunday in the second spherical of a presidential election that’s anticipated to usher in the first democratic transition of energy for the reason that West African nation gained independence from France in 1960.

Ruling get together candidate Mohamed Bazoum is seen by many because the favorite after main in the first spherical on Dec. 27 with 39.3% of the vote. He’s up in opposition to former President Mahamane Ousmane, who scored 17%.

Bazoum, a 61-year-old politician who had held a number of prime positions in outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou’s governments together with the overseas and inside ministries, is backed by the candidates who got here third and fourth in the first spherical.

Bazoum has vowed to proceed Issoufou’s insurance policies, making safety a focus because the nation battles insurgencies, whereas introducing insurance policies to revamp the economic system.

Ousmane, 71, was Niger’s first democratically elected president and was ousted in a 1996 army coup. He has been endorsed by round a dozen smaller events and candidates of the first spherical. He has promised to carry change and deal with corruption.

The Sahel nation of round 24 million is among the poorest in the world and struggles with recurring drought and harmful floods. The coronavirus pandemic has weighed on its economic system, whereas weak costs for its foremost export, uranium, have hit revenues.

The Worldwide Financial Fund expects Niger’s economic system to rebound to pre-pandemic ranges, with development of over 6% this 12 months after dipping by 1.2% in 2020.

“Continuity is healthier,” mentioned Boukari Hassane, a 42 year-old civil servant who added that he would really like Bazoum to full growth programmes began underneath Issoufou.

Niamey-based political analyst Elhadj Idi Abou mentioned that the result of the vote was not determined and turnout was anticipated to be excessive given the almost 70% turnout in the first spherical.

The selection was between continuity with Bazoum, or change with Ousmane, he added.

“For me there isn’t a favorite as a result of this poll is probably the most open and the result doesn’t rely upon alliances however on the residents. Each candidates have the identical possibilities,” Abou mentioned.

Niger is going through two of Africa’s deadliest insurgencies – one close to its western border with Mali and Burkina Faso, the place militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have carried out a sequence of assaults. An assault on two villages in early January close to the border with Mali killed 100.

Alongside its southeastern border with Nigeria assaults by Boko Haram have killed a whole bunch and displaced hundreds.

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