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Niger Opposition Leader Claims Election Win Despite Results

Women stroll previous a marketing campaign poster of Niger’s former president and presidential candidate Mahamane Ousmane on Febuary 18, 2021 in Niamey forward of Niger’s presidential election runoff on Febuary 21.  (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)



Niger opposition chief Mahamane Ousmane on Wednesday claimed he narrowly received the nation’s presidential election, as contemporary violence erupted a day after official outcomes gave victory to his rival by a large margin.

“The compilation of results… which we have in our possession through our representatives in the various polling stations give us victory with 50.3 percent of the vote,” Ousmane mentioned, based on a video of a speech he made within the southeastern city of Zinder.

According to provisional outcomes introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), former inside minister Mohamed Bazoum picked up 55.75 p.c of the vote in Sunday’s runoff and Ousmane 44.25 p.c.

Police clashed with Ousmane supporters within the capital Niamey after CENI’s announcement on Tuesday, AFP reporters mentioned.

Sources within the metropolis mentioned a minimum of one police station and retailers owned by folks perceived as being near the federal government had been pillaged.

In Dosso, 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Niamey, the places of work of a pro-government occasion had been broken by fireplace, native residents mentioned.

Further violence erupted on Wednesday morning in Niamey’s central market space.

Protesters threw stones and police responded with tear gasoline, and a minimum of one petrol station was attacked, AFP reporters noticed.

In the afternoon, protesters confronted safety forces within the southwestern city of Kollo, based on residents.

Internet entry was severely diminished on Wednesday within the capital and Zinder, based on AFP journalists.

Also on Wednesday, Moumouni Boureima, a former chief of employees of the armed forces, was arrested at his residence, a safety supply mentioned.

He was accused of main the disturbances after the election end result was introduced, the supply added.

Senior prosecutor Maman Sayabou Issa mentioned on public tv solely that “several people” had been arrested and extra had been being sought by authorities over “acts of vandalism”.

Boureima is reportedly near Hama Amadou, the person who had been anticipated to be probably the most formidable opposition candidate within the election.

But Amadou was banned from operating due to a conviction for child trafficking — a cost he says was politically motivated — and threw his assist behind Ousmane.

The elections have been offered as the primary democratic transition within the historical past of the coup-prone Sahel state.

President Mahamadou Issoufou is voluntarily stepping down after two five-year phrases — a rarity in Africa, the place presidents have often stayed in energy via constitutional modifications.

– ‘Fraud’ –
“You have expressed your clear willingness to break with poor government, you have expressed your desire for change, for an emerging Niger,” Ousmane informed voters in his speech.

“This desire for change has been expressed by your voting massively in my favour,” he mentioned.

He insisted “fraud” had been dedicated “pretty much everywhere in all of Niger’s regions”.

In the constituency of Timia within the Agadez area, “a turnout of 103 percent was recorded, with a score of 99 percent in favour of the ruling party’s candidate,” he claimed.

“In these areas, our delegates were forced at gunpoint to sign certifications (of the vote) without any possibility of adding remarks,” he mentioned.

Bazoum, 60, co-founder with Issoufou of the ruling PNDS occasion, picked up simply over 39 p.c of the vote within the first spherical on December 27.

Ousmane, 71, received just below 17 p.c within the first spherical however gained pledges of assist from a coalition of 18 opposition events within the days earlier than the runoff.

In 1993, Ousmane turned Niger’s first democratically-elected president, solely to be toppled in a coup three years later.

– Bazoum gesture –
Bazoum, talking at his occasion’s headquarters on Tuesday, mentioned he can be “the president of all Nigeriens” and reached out to Ousmane.

“Knowing his wisdom, I would like to count on him,” Bazoum mentioned.

“If the opposition has doubts (about the election), it should be able to have the evidence” to place to the Constitutional Court, which certifies the outcomes, he mentioned.

The leaders of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad have congratulated Bazoum on his win.

The Francophonie organisation of French-speaking nations in the meantime condemned the post-election violence.

Niger is the world’s poorest nation based on the UN’s improvement rankings for 189 nations.

It can be battling jihadist insurgencies which have spilled over from Mali within the west and Nigeria within the southeast. Hundreds of lives have been misplaced and an estimated 460,000 folks have fled their properties.

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