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Polls open in NIger's presidential run off election

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ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP or licensors

Presidential elections

Polls opened in Niger on Sunday as voters go to pick a new president in a runoff election set to mark the first-ever transfer of power through the ballot box in the country.

Mohamed Bazoum, an ally of incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou, received 39% of the vote in the first round of votes in December. He now faces a single opponent, Mahamane Ousmane. Mahamane Ousmane was president from 1993 to 1996.

Some 7.5 million people are eligible to vote in the 22 million inhabited west African nation.

Niger has been turned into something of a global military hub, hosting army bases with troops from France, the United States, Italy, Belgium, Germany and recently establishing defence agreements with Russia and Turkey.