Niger stages historic election despite jihadi attacks

People in Niger voted on Sunday in a presidential election that’s anticipated to see the nation’s first democratic energy switch since independence from France amid Islamist violence.

Mohamed Bazoum, former overseas affairs and inside minister and the ruling celebration’s candidate, is the overwhelming favourite to succeed President Mahamadou Issoufou, who’s stepping down after two five-year phrases. Results are anticipated within the coming days.

The West African nation has seen 4 coups since reaching independence from France in 1960.

Bazoum, 60, has promised continuity with Issoufou’s insurance policies, whereas additionally vowing to wash up pervasive corruption.

“If I am lucky enough to win this election, you will have chosen someone who is ready from day one,” he stated in a marketing campaign video.

Bazoum faces 29 different candidates, who will hope to power a second spherical by denying him an outright majority of the vote. Other outstanding hopefuls embrace two former heads of state, Mahamane Ousmane, 70, and Salou Djibo, 55.

In November, the Constitutional Court declared the principle opposition candidate Hama Amadou “ineligible” to run in Sunday’s election. It is known judges disqualified him on the grounds that in 2017 he was handed a 12-month time period for alleged child trafficking — a cost he has known as bogus.

Niger’s electoral code bars residents convicted of crimes with jail sentences of 1 yr or extra from working for president.

A complete of seven.4 million registered voters can even cast their ballots to decide on who will signify them within the nation’s 171-seat National Assembly. Whoever takes over as president will face a significant problem of defending the nation’s safety from additional jihadi attacks.

Several areas have been additionally on excessive alert for attacks on or close to polling stations.

“There have been no major incidents here that have affected the election process in Zinder, nor in the remote villages around Zinder, where some polling stations were not open during the local elections,” stated DW correspondent Tidjani Mohamed, reporting from southern Niger.

“There have been a few cases of attempted vote buying, but thanks to the precautions taken by the CENI Electoral Commission, the people who tried to cheat were prevented from doing so,” he added.

Meanwhile, residents of the southeastern metropolis of Diffa have been shaken by the sound of a number of explosions. However, the blasts passed off in neighboring Chad, in accordance with DW correspondent Marah Mahamadou.

“The polling stations opened very early this morning,” she stated. “But then, sadly, we heard two huge explosions, and that unfold a number of worry. People calmed down later as a result of the explosion was not within the metropolis of Diffa itself. It was relatively on the opposite aspect of the border, 5 kilometers away from the city of Diffa.

“The explosion was huge and could be heard as well as if it had been in Diffa. As a result, many election workers fled,” Mahamadou added.

Fighters loyal to al-Qaida and the “Islamic State” (IS) armed group are energetic on Niger’s western border with Mali and Burkina Faso.

Boko Haram, a Nigerian-based jihadi group with ties to IS additionally operates on Niger’s southeastern border.

On Monday, seven troops and 11 suspected jihadis died in an ambush within the southwestern area of Tillaberi, the federal government stated.

The economic system, already fragile, has suffered devastating blows from the results of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Around 42% of the inhabitants lived final yr on beneath $1.90 (€1.60) per day, in accordance with the World Bank, whereas practically a fifth of its surging inhabitants of 23 million relied on meals help.


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