Polls to choose president in Niger have entered the second round after President Mahamadou failed to get absolute majority. The opposition has accused Issoufou of suppressing dissent and arresting many of his rivals.
The national electoral commission in Niger's capital, Niyame, announced Friday that President Mahamadou Issoufou (pictured above) won 48.4 percent of the vote in the February 21 polls. He will now face Hama Amadou in the run-off.
According to Niger's election rules, a candidate must have more than 50 percent of the vote to win the first round, otherwise the election continues to a second round run-off between the two candidates with the most votes.
Hama Amadou, a former prime minister and parliamentary speaker, came second with a little over 17 percent of the votes. Amadou was behind bars for human trafficking - a charge which he denied.
Fifteen candidates participated in the elections last weekend, with Issoufou promising to tackle poverty and improve safety in the country. About 7.5 million people in the country were eligible to vote.
Opposition members accused Issoufou of suppressing dissent and arresting several members of rival parties in the run-up to the polls. The COPA 2016 coalition said it "reserved the right to reject the grotesque and cooked up results."
The African Union, which had deployed 40 observers in the February 21 poll, said it was generally satisfied with the organization but added that there were some delays caused by logistical glitches. The vote was peaceful, but tense as security forces patrolled areas to prevent unrest and possible militant attacks.
mg/sms (Reuters, AFP)