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Niger elections: Issoufou fails to clinch historic first round win

Niger elections: Issoufou fails to clinch historic first round win


Niger’s incumbent president, Mahamadou Issoufou failed to deliver his much talked about “first round knockout” at the polls.

Issoufou who is seeking a second term in office had predicted a first round victory for himself ahead of the February 21 polls.

No Nigerien president has been elected in the first round of voting, but Mahamadou Issoufou was hoping to change that.

Unfortunately, he managed to poll just 48.4 percent of the total vote cast after last Sunday’s polls, thus failing to make “history” as he had proposed.

The national electoral commission on Friday announced there would be a second round of voting which will be between President Issoufou and his one-time ally, Hama Amadou who managed to garner 17.8 percent of the votes.

Amadou had been considered a favourite to win the presidential election although he has had to run his entire campaign from prison where he is being held on baby trafficking charges – a charge he has strongly denied.

The opposition parties announced before the February 21 polls that they would unit behind the candidate who pushes the vote into a runoff.

This is part of their grand scheme to get Mahamadou Issoufou out of office. He has been criticised by the opposition of becoming an autocrat and arbitrarily detaining his perceived opponents.

But Issoufou has dismissed the opposition criticism as politically motivated. He has vowed to tackle poverty and crush Islamist militants, Boko Haram, whose violence has spilled across the country’s border.