Niger’s opposition leader declares self victory in elections

Feb, 25th, 2021 Niger opposition leader Mahamane Ousmane has declared self victory in the country’s general election following chaos that erupted after official results announced his rival Mohamed Bazoum the elections winner. “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,” he said in a video at the Southeast town of Zinder.

According to provisional results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), former interior minister Mohamed Bazoum picked up 55.75 percent of the vote in Sunday’s runoff and Ousmane 44.25 percent. This event was followed by a severe reduction of internet access on Wednesday in Niamey and Zinder.

Protestors in Niamey’s central market area, engaged in chaos that involved throwing stones as police retaliated with tear gas leading to the damage of at least one petrol station and damaging the offices of a pro-government party in Dosso 100km (62 miles) south of Niamey, by fire .

On Wednesday, Moumouni Boureima, a former chief of staff of the armed forces, was arrested at his home, a security source said. He was accused of leading the disturbances after the election result was announced.

Boureima is reportedly close to Hama Amadou, the man who had been expected to be the most formidable opposition candidate in the election. But Amadou was banned from running because of a conviction for baby trafficking – a charge he says was politically motivated – and threw his support behind Ousmane.

The elections have been presented as the first democratic transition in the history of the coup-prone state. President Mahamadou Issoufou is voluntarily stepping down after two five-year terms.

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