Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou won a second term with 92.5 percent of the vote in a run-off election that the opposition coalition chose to boycott, the electoral commission said on Tuesday. Issoufou, an ally of the West in its fight against Islamist insurgents in West Africa, won the first round comfortably last month with 48 percent of votes but failed to clinch the outright majority required to avoid a second round. The candidate who came second, opposition leader Hama Amadou, has been in jail since November on charges relating to a baby-trafficking scandal, but was flown to France for medical treatment last week. Amadou says he is innocent and claims the charges against him are politically motivated.
Niger opposition parties have rejected the final round of the country’s presidential and legislative elections that took place on Sunday citing fraud. Niger’s electoral commission released results on Tuesday showing that President Mahamadou Issoufou received more than 92 percent of the runoff vote. His rival Hama Amadou received less than 8 percent of the vote, which saw a low turnout after the opposition called for a boycott. The candidates from the opposition parties in a statement have challenged any attempts by the incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou to claim victory. They have also accused the government of voter intimidation and warned of false results.
Niger’s opposition coalition has announced that they “will not recognize” the outcome of the second round of the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Sunday. The opposition “demands a political transition that will organize new democratic elections – free, legitimate, and transparent and honest,” the opposition coalition COPA 2016 said in a statement late Thursday. Incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou won 48.4 percent of the vote in the first round to Hama Amadou’s 17.7 percent on February 21, but such results are often subject to legal challenges.
Authorities in Niger will attempt to evacuate to a hospital in the capital jailed opposition leader Hama Amadou, who will face off against President Mahamadou Issoufou in a Sunday run-off election, due to health issues, a government official said late on Monday. Amadou, a former president of parliament speaker, was jailed in November in connection with a baby-trafficking scandal but finished second to Issoufou in the first round of polling last month. He denies the charges against him and says they are politically motivated. His supporters claim he has suffered from ill health during the time he has been jailed in the town of Filingue, around 180 km (112 miles) northeast of the capital Niamey.
Niger opposition candidate Hama Amadou, held in jail since November on shadowy baby-trafficking charges, will take part in the run-off race against President Mahamadou Issoufou, his lawyers said Thursday. The head of the country’s national electoral commission (CENI) announced earlier that the elections would go ahead despite the withdrawal of the opposition coalition, known as COPA 2016. The pullout was expected to include candidate Amadou, who has campaigned from behind bars throughout the race. But his lawyer told AFP that Amadou never said he would withdraw. “COPA has only said that they will suspend their participation in the process, but Hama will run in the election,” his lawyer said.
Niger’s opposition coalition said Tuesday that its candidate, Hama Amadou, would not contest a runoff election March 20, increasing the chances that President Mahamadou Issoufou will win a second term. Amadou has been in prison since November on charges relating to baby-trafficking. He says he is innocent and a victim of political repression. The government denies wrongdoing and says it follows the law. “The Coalition for an Alternative has decided to suspend its participation in the electoral process and asks its representatives to withdraw from the electoral commission,” it said in a statement.
Opposition parties in Niger on Tuesday rejected initial results from Sunday’s presidential election that showed incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou in the lead, calling them fraudulent. Provisional results from 20 of the West African country’s 308 municipalities gave Issoufou 40.18 percent of the vote, more than 10 percentage points ahead of his closest rival. “These results are completely contrary to what was expressed at the ballot box,” said Amadou Boubacar Cisse, an election candidate and spokesman for the Coalition for Change group of opposition parties.
Counting has begun in Niger’s presidential and legislative elections after the polls closed Sunday. The results are not expected until sometime next week. Mahamadou Issoufou is running for a second five-year term with a promise to crush Islamist militants and develop one of the poorest countries in the world. “I hope that these elections proceed calmly and peacefully,” he had said. “In any case, there will only be one winner, and that is Niger.”
Niger will hold concurrent presidential and legislative elections Feb. 21. Although Jan. 30 marked the official start of campaigning for the presidential candidates, drama has surrounded the race for months. A string of government arrests, including those of five journalists and nine suspected coup plotters, has tested rule of law. Presidential contender Hama Amadou was seized Nov. 14 on charges of baby trafficking. His supporters subsequently joined violent demonstrations and posted a graphic photo of a dead protester on Facebook. Some commenters warned that the photo was a fake meant to smear incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou as he runs for reelection. Singer Hamsou Garba, who publicly supports Amadou, was just released after spending 10 days in jail. One of Garba’s recent songs critiqued Issoufou’s government and called for him to have the same fate of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who was voted out of office last year. She was accused of inciting civil disobedience.
Niger’s interior minister on Thursday accused supporters of jailed presidential candidate Hama Amadou of acts of violence against backers of the incumbent president seeking re-election. “Since the start of the campaign, there have been acts of aggression, violence committed by MODEN activists against supporters of (President) Mahamadou Issoufou and any vehicles with his poster,” Hassoumi Massaoudou told AFP. Issoufou is running for a second term in the February 21 vote in the arid west African country, while his rival Amadou, of the Democratic Movement of Niger (MODEN), remains in prison over allegations of taking part in a baby trafficking scandal.
Niger’s political aspirants officially launched their campaigns on midnight Saturday. Banners, posters and party colours have emerged in the country’s capital Niamey, where campaigns for the first round of presidential elections on February 21st opened, without Hama Amadou, a local favorite, who has been in prison for more than two months now. Giant billboards bearing a potrait of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou, who is seeking a second term dot the city. Other candidates have also erected massive posters for their campaigns, like Amadou Boubacar Cissé, the country’s former Minister of Planning and Seini Oumarou, a former prime minister and a leading oppossition politician, who lost in the second round against Mr. Issoufou in 2011.
The Saturday local government council election for chairmen and councilors in all the 25 local government councils in Niger state was generally peaceful but not without pockets of violence basically due to insufficient electoral materials by the Niger State Independent Electoral Commission (NSIEC). While there were well pronounced turn-out of voters for the election which has so far claimed a life and scores of others injured in Bida, others such as farmers and artisans went about their day’s businesses claiming that, ‘the government cannot feed us’. Accreditation started well as early as 8am in most places but soon became rowdy in some areas when voters discovered particularly that ballot papers provided by NSIEC is not in commensuration with the number of registered voters in the affected polling units.
Hama Amadou, a major opposition figure in Niger and a presidential candidate, has declared himself a political prisoner, his lawyer said on Wednesday, meaning he is now likely to spend time leading up to the February polls in jail. Amadou was one of 15 candidates approved by the constitutional court to stand in presidential elections. His lawyer, speaking on a private television station, said Amadou made the decision after the appeals court turned down his plea to be released. “We will not seek an appeal. We will no longer ask for conditional release,” said Souley Oumarou, the candidate’s lawyer. “Our client considers this no longer to be a judicial affair, but a political affair.”
The Niger State Independent Electoral Commission (NSIEC) has said that it will employ the use of the Card Readers used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the last general election. The commission also disclosed that the machinery for the conduct of the January 16 local government elections in the 25 local government councils in the state have been put in place. Disclosing this to reporters in Minna, the state capital, its Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Ali, said about 14,000 staff and 3,185 ad-hoc staff are being trained to operate the card readers.
Hama Amadou, a major opposition figure approved to stand in Niger’s February elections just two days ago, failed on Monday in an attempt to gain release from prison in a plea to the country’s appeals court. President Mahamadou Issoufou, a key Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy in the fragile Sahara region, is expected to win a second term; but critics accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian, especially after uncovering what he described as an aborted coup in December. Amadou, a one-time ally to the president, was jailed in November for alleged complicity in a baby trafficking ring upon return from a year-long exile. He has publicly denied the charges, which he says are politically motivated.
Niger has completed changes to its electoral register recommended by the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), the body said on Thursday, removing a major source of tension ahead of elections next month. President Mahamadou Issoufou is seeking another mandate as head of the historically turbulent, uranium-producing West African country on Feb. 21. He is the favorite to win but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and repressive ahead of the polls. The OIF, an organization representing French-speaking nations tasked with overseeing the voter list, had previously recommended the removal of around 300 ‘ghost’ polling stations and 25,000 voters counted twice.
Niger’s electoral register is good enough to enable the country to go ahead with an election on Feb. 21 as long as certain changes are made, the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) said in a report on Monday. The changes include getting rid of around 300 ‘ghost’ polling stations and 25,000 voters who have been counted twice, said the organization. President Mahamadou Issoufou is running for a second term and is favorite to win but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and has unleashed a campaign of repression before the p
The first round of Niger’s presidential election will be held on February 21 in 2016, the country’s election commission said, with incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou set to seek a second term. “The first round of the presidential election, along with legislative elections, will take place on Sunday, February 21, 2016,” Ibrahim Boube, the president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni), announced at a press conference. A run-off round in the presidential vote is scheduled for March 20.