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Africa News of Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Source: reuters.com

Ruling party candidate leading in Niger presidential run-off

Niger’s ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum has extended his lead in a presidential election runoff that is meant to usher in the first democratic transition of power in the West African nation, election commission data showed on Tuesday.

Bazoum leads his challenger, former president Mahamane Ousmane, with 57.7% of the vote share, results from 210 out of 266 constituencies released by the commission showed.

On February 21, voters cast their ballots in 26,000 planned polling stations in 16 electoral constituencies across the country.

After voting at the Niamey City Hall, outgoing president Mahamadou Issoufou was delighted that "the peaceful alternation that has been lacking in Niger for decades will be realized".

"I am proud to be the first democratically elected president (in the country) to be able to pass the baton to another democratically elected president," he said.

To face the immense challenges the country is confronted with, "we must build strong and stable democratic institutions," he added.

He said he hoped this second round of the presidential election will be a free and transparent ballot.

For his part, the president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Issaka Souna, hoped that his compatriots come out and assume their participation which makes it possible to choose a President of the Republic.

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