Low Turnout in Niger Referendum, Tandja Victory Likely

Over Monday and Tuesday, Niger held a referendum on extending the mandate of President Mamadou Tandja. The state has not released results yet, but various outlets are reporting low turnout in Niamey and elsewhere:

State radio urged the population to “go out and vote massively”, but turnout appeared low in the first hours of polling, with voters trickling in at several polling stations around the capital.

Not a single voter was in sight at a primary school in the capital’s working class suburb of Lazaret just after the polls opened at 8am local time (07:00 GMT).

Two hours later only seven out of 470 voters registered there had bothered to cast their ballots.

The BBC reports light turnout as well, with some opposition protests, followed by arrests by authorities.

Whether or not the vote is fair, the low turnout in my view favors Tandja. The opposition has not mobilized significant numbers of protesters or voters this week, and I would guess that many ordinary Nigeriens either feel nervous or apathetic about voting and hence stay home. Those who do vote, then, are likely to be Tandja supporters.

Still awaiting official results, and then we’ll see if my prediction of a Tandja victory is correct.

2 thoughts on “Low Turnout in Niger Referendum, Tandja Victory Likely

  1. Pingback: Early Results in Niger Strongly Favor Tandja « Sahel Blog

  2. Pingback: Niger: Onward to the August 20 Parliamentary Elections? « Sahel Blog

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