The much anticipated first round victory by Niger’s President, Mahamadou Issoufou may not materialise after all. That is a prediction from one of the opposition parties which contested Sunday’s presidential election.
President Issoufou who is seeking a second term in office, assured his supporters last Thursday he would win the first round of the elections with a “knockout”.
He is actually hoping to make history in a country where no president has been elected with just a first round of votes.
Voting was extended for a second day in Niger in areas where voters were unable to cast their ballots on Sunday.
The extension of the exercise has given hope to one of the main opposition parties, the National Movement for the Development of Society (MNSD), whose candidate, Seini Oumarou is considered a favourite in the race.
Campaign manager for the MNSD Harouna Moussa told the AFP, the president’s “knockout” victory “may be an illusion, a dream.”
According to him, “with the trend in Niger’s eight regions, I can say that he may be leading in the Tawa area, for sure and probably Agadez. But for the six other regions, he is not ahead, he cannot be ahead.”
The opposition denounced the delays and logistical problems which characterised the polls on Sunday, accusing the President of deliberately holding up the election.
Elected in 2011, Mahamadou Issoufou, 63, faces a stiff contest from two former prime ministers, Seïni Oumarou and Hama Amadou who is currently in prison on baby trafficking charges – a charge he has denied.
Another favourite in the poll is Mahamane Ousmane, Niger’s first democratically elected president.