Former Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum won the second round of elections in Niger with 55.7% of the votes, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). The opposition described the result of “electoral robbery”, reason why hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets.
There is already a winner in the Niger elections. This Tuesday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) published the results of Sunday’s presidential elections, which granted 55.7% of the votes to Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate who represents continuity with the previous Executive.
“I will be the president of all Nigerians,” Mohamed Bazoum told his supporters and the press. He also congratulated his defeated opponent, Mahamane Ousmane –who took 44.2% of the votes–, to whom he extended his hand: “knowing his wisdom, I would like to count on him,” he said.
I have experienced the Nigerian people for the qu’il vient confidence of me temoigner in the Président de la République. Je lui will be a loyal servant for affronter tous les problems auxquels notre country is confronted.
– Mohamed Bazoum (@mohamedbazoum) February 23, 2021
Bazoum, a former interior minister and very close to the current head of state, Mahamadou Issoufou, will still have to wait for confirmation from the Constitutional Court before he can assume power. This was expressed by the president of CENI, Issaka Souna, before the diplomatic corps and the Nigerian authorities gathered at the Congress Center in Niamey, the country’s capital.
The participation rate in the second round on Sunday was 62.91%, according to the electoral authority, which positions Mohamed Bazoum with 2,501,459 votes compared to 1,985,736 for Mahamane Ousmane, out of a total of 7.4 millions of citizens called to the polls.
In the first round on December 27, Mohamed Bazoum had won 39.3% of the ballots compared to almost 17% for Mahamane Ousmane, the nation’s former president in the 1990s.
The opposition denounces “electoral fraud”
Moments before the publication of the results by the electoral authority, the opposition defined the process as an electoral “robbery”, demanding “the immediate suspension of the publication of the results.” The opponents had already warned at the beginning of the electoral campaign that they would not recognize the results if they considered them “fraudulent.”
Ousmane himself published a statement on social networks in which he claimed the suspension:
“I call on all Nigerians … to mobilize in unison and put an end to this electoral heist,” Falké Bacharou, Mahamane Ousmane’s campaign manager, told reporters.
“Tchanji,” shouted youth from the opposition, which means “change” in the Hausa language, after Bacharou’s remarks. As a result of this discontent, hundreds of protesters gathered near the headquarters of the Parti Nigérien pour la Démocratie et le Socialisme (PNDS), where Mohamed Bazoum intervened, and were dispersed with tear gas by the police.
There were also demonstrations in Zinder, the second largest city in the country, according to local sources.
An electoral process marked by violence
Niger’s has not been an easy electoral process, highly marked by violence. In fact, at least seven workers from the Nigerian electoral commission died during the second round vote due to the explosion of a bomb while their vehicle passed by in the Dargol commune, located in Tillabéri – in the west of the country. without for the moment there is a claim of authorship of the attack. Another official was killed in the Diffa region, on the border with Nigeria, as a result of an attack.
The Tillabéri region, prey to insecurity linked to the presence of Boko Haram – the Nigerian branch of the Islamic State – voted overwhelmingly for Ousmane, as did the capital, Niamey, which continues to be a stronghold of the opposition.
If Bazoum is certified by the Constitutional Court, this will be the first democratic transition in Niger, a country marked by coups since its independence from France in 1960.
With AFP and EFE