Niger's presidential election goes into second round

As no candidate gets majority of votes in first round of Niger's presidential election second round is expected to be held in March

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Niger's Commission Electoral Indenpendante (CENI) Chairman Ibrahim Boube (R) announced on February 25, 2016 the partial results of the February 21 presidential and legislative elections at the Palais des Congres in Niamey.

Updated Feb 27, 2016

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou took a clear lead in the country's February 21 presidential election but will face a run-off against jailed opposition leader Hama Amadou, official results showed Friday.

The CENI election commission said the 63-year-old won 48.41 percent of the vote, with his nearest challenger Amadou picking up 17.41 percent.

Turnout was at 66.75 percent, CENI said.

Issoufou, who campaigned on pledges to boost the economy and keep the country safe from terror attacks, had hoped for a quick first-round win but was a tantalising 167,000 votes short of the "knock-out" victory he had vowed.

The final round is due to be held before the end of March.

Amadou, a former premier, is behind bars on shadowy baby trafficking charges he says were concocted.

Two other prominent politicians, former premier Seini Oumarou and ex-president Mahamane Ousmane, won 12.11 percent and 6.25 percent respectively.

About 7.5 million people were eligible to vote in the elections, whose credibility was questioned by the opposition.

A total of 15 candidates ran for president in the impoverished country straddling the Sahara Desert, rocked over the past year by attacks by Boko Haram militant group operating out of neighbouring Nigeria.

The African Union, which deployed 40 observers, has said it was generally satisfied with the organisation of the vote, despite delays in some areas caused by logistical glitches.

The opposition, which had already slammed "grotesque and cooked up results", has said it will unite to prevent Issoufou winning a second term.

TRTWorld and agencies