In Niger, Mohammed Bazoum and Mahamane Ousmane have made it through to the second round of the country’s presidential elections, with neither candidate garnering enough ballots to win outright in the 27 December vote.
Provisional results gave Bazoum, candidate for the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), over 39 percent of the first round ballot (around 1.88 million votes) versus 17 percent for Ousmane, according to an announcement by the electoral commission on Saturday morning.
The electoral commission, originally due to declare provisional results on Friday, explained that the large field of candidates in this year’s race, led to additional time for vote counting and more rigorous controls.
A second round is expected on 20 February.
Former Prime Minister Seini Oumarou came in third, taking nearly 9 percent of votes, with another former prime minister, Albadé Abouba, placing fourth on 7 percent. Former foreign affairs minister Ibrahim Yacouba secured 5.38 percent and former President Salou Djibo took less than 3 percent of the vote.
It is the first time in Niger’s history that an elected president will succeed another elected president. Bazoum is a former foreign affairs and interior minister, while Ousmane is another former president.
Election turnout was almost 70 percent with 5.2 million voters heading to the polls, according to the electoral commission’s results, which still must be validated by the country’s constitutional court.