The second round of the presidential elections in Niger takes place in a tense climate

EFE / EPA / SOULEYMANE AG ANARA / Archive

Niamey, Feb 20 (EFE) .- Nigerians will go to the polls again next Sunday to vote, in an atmosphere of tension, between Mohamed Bazoum and Mahamane Ousmane, the two candidates who went to the second round in the presidential elections on last December 27.
According to the statistics of the electoral commission, a total of 7.4 million voters are called to participate in these elections in 25,978 polling stations throughout the country.
In the first round, the turnout was 69.67% despite the coronavirus restrictions.
In that first round, Bazoum, the power candidate to replace outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou, won first place with 1,879,629 votes (39.33%), well ahead of the 812,412 votes (16.89%) of his rival. opponent, Ousmane, former president of the republic overthrown in a coup.
Bazoum, who defends the “continuity and consolidation” of the Issoufou era (2011-2021), will this time benefit from the support of the candidates Seïni Oumarou and Albadé Abouba, who then ranked third and fourth (8.95% and 7%, respectively).
Observers in Niamey consider that Bazoum can be considered the winner of this final round thanks to the political support he enjoys (95 political parties of the 150 registered in the country) and the large difference in votes between him and his rival in that first round. .
Although his victory looks easy for some, Bazoum urged his followers and allies, during the electoral campaign, to “redouble their efforts, on the occasion of this second round of the presidential elections to ensure a resounding victory.”
POLEMIC ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF BAZOUM
The electoral campaign for the second round, which closed last midnight, took place in a tense atmosphere, which raised fears of abuses on voting day.
This February 21 vote is presented by the opposition as “a referendum” because, according to it, it is about choosing between a Nigerian of origin (Ousmane), and Bazoum, whose nationality of origin continues to be contested by his rivals.
His critics claim that Bazoum is a Libyan who has taken refuge in Niger, and despite the fact that his candidacy has been validated by the Constitutional Court, this has not ended the controversy about his origin.
The presidential candidate Djibrilla Baré Maïnassara, eliminated from the first round, has just appealed to the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for an emergency procedure requesting his intervention to invalidate Bazoum’s candidacy.
CANDIDATE PROFILE
Bazoum, 61, a graduate of advanced studies (DEA) in philosophy, left teaching and unionism to devote himself exclusively to politics in the company of the outgoing president since 1991.
During all these years, he has worked to establish a multi-party system in the country and was several times a deputy, and then a minister of the Republic from 2013 to 2020.
As for Ousmane, 70 years old, he is a statistical engineer and economist, but he also obtained other higher degrees obtained in France and Canada in particular.
This opposition candidate spent his entire career in the public administration, and in 1996, thanks to the support of a coalition of political parties, he was elected as the first president of the Republic, but in 1996 he was removed by a military coup.

Now Ousseini

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