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Niger: Issoufou gets cool run-off as opposition boycotts March 20 polls

Niger: Issoufou gets cool run-off as opposition boycotts March 20 polls


Niger’s President, Mahamadou Issoufou; is set to win another term in office following a decision by the opposition coalition on Tuesday to boycott the election run-off scheduled for March 20.

The incumbent is expected to win the run-off because several smaller parties have said they will support him.

The opposition’s candidate, Hama Amadou, has been in jail since November last year on charge of baby-trafficking, a charge he vehemently denies with claims that he is a victim of government persecution.

The election of February 21 was pushed into a second round after Issoufou failed to secure an outright victory. He managed 48.4 percent of votes cast whiles Amadou who campaigned from prison garnered 17.8 percent of votes.

The two men were set to contest in the upcoming run-off with majority of the opposition backing the incacerated Amadou. The opposition had earlier called for his release in order to face Issoufou in the run-off.

Issoufou campaigned on a promise to clamp down on Islamist militants and revive the economy in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Niger is under threat from Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which is based in Nigeria but has staged a series of cross-border attacks in the southeastern Diffa region, forcing the government to impose a state of emergency there.