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Vote counting underway in Niger's presidential runoff

Vote counting underway in Niger's presidential runoff

Vote counting in the second round of Niger’s presidential elections began Sunday night in a poll that was marked by a boycott by opposition parties who said they will not recognise the results.

Polling stations opened at 7 am and closed at 6am. But in several cities including Niamey, polling stations opened a few hours late.

About 7.5 million voters were expected to participate in the polls to choose between the incumbent, President Mahamadou Issoufou and the opposition candidate Hama Amadou who is currently receiving medical treatment in Paris.

Amadou was evacuated by helicopter last week from his prison, where he was being held on shadowy baby-trafficking charges.

In the first round he polled 17.79 percent, compared to 48.41 percent for Issoufou.

Niger’s opposition said Thursday it “will not recognise” the result of Sunday’s presidential election run-off.

The opposition coalition called for “a political transition to allow the organisation of new democratic, free, legitimate, transparent and honest elections.”

In a statement, it said it would also not recognise “institutions emanating from this Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections.”

The electoral commission is expected to announce the results sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday.