Niger's Issoufou wins presidential race

2011-03-14 19:15
Niger's veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou casts his vote at a polling station in the election which he won. (Seyllou, AFP)

Niger's veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou casts his vote at a polling station in the election which he won. (Seyllou, AFP) (Seyllou)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Niamey - Veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou was declared victor Monday of presidential polls ending a year-long military junta in Niger, which remains deeply poor despite massive uranium stores.

In his fifth shot at the country's top job, the 59-year-old leader of the Social Democratic Party won 1.8 million, or 57.95%, of votes, said electoral commission head Gousmane Abdourahamane at a ceremony in Niamey.

Former prime minister Seini Oumarou, 60, took 42.05% of the votes cast in the runoff election on Saturday.

Voter turnout was 48.17 %, down from 51.56% in the first round on January 31, he said.

The election in the vast desert nation, which has a history of coups, is aimed at returning democracy after former president Mamadou Tandja was ousted in a military coup in February 2010.

After a decade in power, Tandja had plunged the country into crisis when he attempted to extend his rule beyond the constitutional limits.

The military junta that took power from him vowed to usher in a civilian government, and none of its members ran in the election.

Sworn in on April 6

The provisional results announced on Monday must be sent to the constitutional council which has 15 days to proclaim the final outcome. Issoufou, a longtime opponent to Tandja's regime, is due to be sworn in on April 6.

At a press conference at his home, Issoufou thanked Nigerians for "the five-year mandate, to serve them".

Dressed in a traditional flowing, white boubou and red hat, he said the population had voted with "wisdom in calm, transparently, showing great political maturity".

Surrounded by security and supporters, he also thanked the outgoing junta for its tact and responsibility.

Observers from the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and France lauded the country for its peaceful election.

The former colonial power said acceptance of the result was "essential".

Issoufou was the favourite after taking the lead in the first round vote on January 31.

Example to Africa

The Social Democratic Party chief strengthened his candidacy by forging alliances, especially with Hama Amadou, another former premier under Tandja who garnered 19% in the first round vote.

The junta leader, General Salou Djibo, was among the first to cast his vote on Saturday.

"If we can hold a successful election then together we will have accomplished bringing about a democracy that can serve as an example to Africa," he said.

During the election campaign, both candidates promised to dissolve parliament and organise legislative elections for a more representative assembly in the vast, landlocked country on the edge of the Sahara desert.

And they vowed to tackle the poverty that afflicts some 60% of the people in the impoverished nation, find protection against cyclical food crises, and assure an equitable distribution of the wealth from uranium.

Since independence from France in 1960, Niger has been wracked by coups and faced a Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.

And in recent years it has become one of the bases for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has been responsible for kidnappings and killings of Westerners in the region.

Read more on:    aqim  |  ecowas  |  mahamadou issoufou  |  niger  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.