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Niger voters register declared fit ahead of polls

Niger voters register declared fit ahead of polls


The International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) has given Niger the go ahead to use its electoral voter register.

In a statement released on Monday, the head of the OIF commission expressed confidence in the country’s ability to conduct the vote as long as certain changes are made in the register before elections in February.

“The electoral register submitted for our checks may be used but…on condition that the following recommendations are put into practice,” said Siaka Sangare, head of the OIF commission of experts which reviewed the register.

We think we can move forward with transparent elections.

According to the organization, some of the changes include, eliminating about 300 ‘ghost’ polling stations and 25,000 voters who have been counted twice .

The move was welcomed by all sides.

“We think we can move forward with transparent elections,” said Ousseini Salatou, an opposition spokesman.

In December, the opposition rejected the initial voters register claiming it was doctored despite the government agreeing to an audit.

Dozens of candidates have submitted their application for the presidential race to challenge President Mahamadou Issoufou who is running for a second term.

He is favourite to win but critics say he has become increasingly high handed and has unleashed a campaign of repression before the polls.

Niger is an arid state on the edge of the Sahara desert. It has suffered a series of coups and instability in the past.

The country is betting on increased oil exploration and gold mining to help transform its economy.