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Niger: Power tussle gets tough ahead of Sunday's polls

Niger: Power tussle gets tough ahead of Sunday's polls


Nigeriens will on Sunday go to the polls to elect a president after a tensed campaign period between political rivals.

The campaign was preceded by the imprisonment of a leading opposition candidate, Hama Hamadou over a controversial child trafficking case, a failed coup attempt, jihadists attacks and a disputed electoral roll.

Mahamadou Issoufou , 63, who is seeking a second term in office, hopes to convincingly win the first round but the opposition thinks a first round victory is not possible.

“We can say that there is rising tension because the election has become a matter of life or death for each camp. The camp of those who are in power believe they will win this election and the president himself says he wants to win the first round with a knockout”
Moussa Tchangari, Secretary General of the Citizens Platform said.

About 7.5 million voters are expected to cast their ballots in the presidential and legislative elections.

“The probability of unrest will be even greater if he (the president ) wins because naturally it is he who is in business, it is he who has the ability to twist the neck in the process,” Mr Tchangari added.

Nigeriens keep complaining about the high cost of living in the country.

“The poverty here is unbearable,” Mahamata Sidy told reporters.

The population of Niger is growing rapidly and the country faces desertification threats and rural exodus.

Abddramane Assouma, an official of President Issoufou’s party believes the achievements of the ruling party need to be completed in the next mandate.

Hassane Boubakar, member of the Nigerien Association of Constitutionalists thinks “a look at the political climate raises fears of unpleasant happenings in future.

“With this predators of public funds it is impossible for Niger to develop, although it has rich mining potential,” Kimba Karimou, a representative of Hama Hamadou said.

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