Niger’s Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) has been busy compiling the results of Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections which passed off peacefully.Some 7 million Nigeriens were registered to elect a new president and 171 deputies of the National Assembly.
The vote which pitted several rival ex presidents and ministers took place without any major untoward incident.
These are crucial elections for the future of Niger described by the United Nations as the poorest country in the world.
After polling at 6 p.m. GMT, the CENI began its work of compiling the results in the large hall of the ‘Palais des Congres’.
The board of the electoral outfit, observers, and other journalists accredited for the ballot have made a strong presence to follow the counting of votes.
More than six thousand national and international observers have been accredited by the CENI, including those from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)
Since 1993 the presidential election in Niger has always been decided in the second round.
According to the Election Code, the Independent National Electoral Commission must compile the results of the 25,978 polling stations spread across the country within five days.
These results will then be transmitted to the Constitutional Court for their validation.
Any appeals will be lodged with the Court, ten days, at the latest, after the transmission of the results by the electoral commission.
The ruling party candidate, Mohamed Bazoum is considered by some observers as the favorite in the poll.
He faces 29 candidates from a divided opposition that have a firm conviction for regime change.
And for good reason, since 1993, the Nigerien presidential election has always been held in two rounds, the political opposition having often managed to shake things up.
A possible second round of the ballot takes place on February 20, 2021.
Outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou did not stand for reelection after serving two five-year terms (2011-2020) as provided for in the country’s constitution.