Early Results in Niger Strongly Favor Tandja

Reports of low turnout in Niger seemed to favor the side of President Mamadou Tandja in the contest over passage of a referendum to extend his mandate. Initial counts confirm that perception. Reuters quotes state officials saying that approximately the first eighth of tabulated districts delivered a yes vote. Al Jazeera is already calling this a victory for Tandja.



Full results are expected today or tomorrow.

Assuming Tandja wins, what happens next? Will violence follow? Opposition protests disrupted voting more than I had realized or anticipated. Buried in a VOA story about disputed turnout figures I saw this:

Opposition supporters blocked some polling stations Tuesday, sparking clashes with police.

Niger’s election chief, Moumouni Hamidou, acknowledged Wednesday that protests in the western Tahoua region kept 30 polling stations closed. Hamidou said the results will still represent the will of the people.

Thirty polling stations closed due to protests sounds like a lot to me. The opposition has vowed to challenge the results, but I wonder if they can sustain this level of confrontation and outcry.

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