Niger Elections Head to Run-Off


Niger opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou will face a protege of his long-time foe, ex-president Mamadou Tandja, in a March 12 run-off presidential poll, the electoral commission confirmed on Friday.

Social Democratic Party leader Issoufou, 59, took 36.06 percent of the votes cast in Monday’s first round of the election for a civilian president in the uranium-rich west African country after a year of rule by the military junta that overthrew Tandja.

Former prime minister Seini Oumarou — the 60-year-old leader of Tandja’s National Movement for the Development of Society — came second with 23.2 percent, commission chairman Gousmane Abdourahmane said on national television.

Another ex-premier, Hama Amadou, was third with 19.82 percent, while former president Mahamane Ousmane took 8.42 percent. Turnout was a relatively good 52.83 percent.

Now the negotiations begin. It seems both candidates have a real shot at winning. Issoufou performed better, but Oumarou can potentially form a stronger coalition going forward.