Niger opposition lashes presidential vote as 'electoral holdup'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The opposition campaign in Niger on Tuesday blasted a runoff presidential vote as an "electoral holdup" and called on the public to protest against it.

"I call on all Nigeriens... to mobilise as one to block this electoral holdup," said Falke Bacharou, the campaign manager for opposition candidate Mahamane Ousmane, who ran against ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum in last Sunday's ballot.

The results of the vote -- showcased as the first democratic transition in the coup-prone Sahel state's history -- are still being compiled.

Bazoum was widely predicted ahead of the vote to be the winner, and provisional results from districts, posted on the electoral commission CENI's's website, indicated he was heading for a landslide.

Bacharou, speaking to gathering of Ousmane supporters, said "the results that are being published are in many cases not in line with the expression of the people's will."

He called for an "immediate suspension" of the results.

Outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is voluntarily stepping down after two five-year terms, opening the way to Niger's first handover of power between elected leaders since independence from France in 1960.

Bazoum, 60, a former interior minister who is Issoufou's right-hand man, picked up just over 39 percent of the vote in the first round on December 27.

Ousmane, 71, became the country's first democratically elected president in 1993, only to be toppled in a coup three years later.

This is his fifth attempt at gaining the presidency since his ouster.

He won just under 17 percent in the first round but gained pledges of support from a coalition of 18 opposition parties in the days before the runoff.

The world's poorest nation according to the UN's development rankings for 189 countries, Niger is also struggling with jihadist insurgencies that have spilled over from Mali in the west and Nigeria in the southeast.

On polling day, seven local workers with CENI were killed when their vehicle hit a land mine in the western region of Tillaberi.

On Monday, a similar device claimed the life of a polling station head in the southeastern region of Diffa. Nine other electoral workers were injured.

ah-stb/thm/ri/tgb