By Boureima Balima
NIAMEY (Reuters) – Niger votes in an election on Sunday that’s anticipated to result in the primary switch of energy between two democratically elected presidents in a rustic reeling from Islamist violence.
Former inside minister Mohamed Bazoum, the ruling social gathering’s candidate, is the overwhelming favorite to succeed President Mahamadou Issoufou, who’s stepping down after two five-year phrases main the largely desert nation of 23 million.
Bazoum, 60, has promised continuity with Issoufou’s insurance policies, whereas additionally vowing to wash up pervasive corruption.
“If I’m fortunate sufficient to win this election, you should have chosen somebody who is prepared from day one,” he mentioned in a marketing campaign video.
Niger faces twin safety crises. It has suffered repeated assaults close to its western borders with Mali and Burkina Faso from militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State. Close to its southeastern border with Nigeria it faces assaults from Boko Haram. A whole bunch of troopers and civilians have been killed within the final yr alone.
The financial state of affairs can be important. Greater than 40% of the inhabitants lives in excessive poverty, and the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed development to a crawl, compounding the consequences of local weather change and low costs for prime export uranium.
Bazoum faces 29 different candidates, who will hope to drive a second spherical by denying him an outright majority of the vote.
Hama Amadou, who completed runner-up within the final election, was barred from operating due to a prison conviction, leaving the opposition with out an apparent figurehead.
However final week, Amadou’s social gathering referred to as on its supporters to end up for Mahamane Ousmame, who was president from 1993-1996.
“After my candidate was disqualified, I did not have the motivation to return out and vote,” mentioned Ali Hamma, an Amadou supporter. “However with the brand new directions, I’m going to vote.”
A peaceable switch of energy could be a milestone for Niger, which has skilled 4 coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.
It might additionally stand in stark distinction to Ivory Coast and Guinea, whose presidents this yr used constitutional adjustments to increase their tenures to a few phrases, elevating fears of a democratic backslide in West Africa.
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