Three days ago, Niger kicked off its Presidential elections, with Bazoum and Mahamane contesting for the seat. It was going to be the first-ever transfer of power through a ballot box election. The voting process had progressed as scheduled. Nevertheless, everything took a turn when the state’s electoral commission announced the results. Mr. Bazoum, who was widely predicted ahead of the vote to be the winner, had emerged victorious. Apparently, the opposition was displeased with the news.
A day after Mohamed Bazoum, flag bearer of the Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism was declared winner, opposition leader Mahame raised electoral malpractice claims. He denounced the results and claimed that his party could authenticate his win. Meanwhile, the National Electoral commission’s official results declared Bazoum winner with 55.75% of the total votes.
“The compilation of the 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,” Mahamane says
Despite Mahamane’s allegations, Bazoum was already predicted to win by political analysts, considering he had most of the votes during the first round of the elections and because he also seemed to be the public’s favorite.
Violence erupted in Niger’s capital on Tuesday after the electoral commission declared Bazoum, the winner. Reporters alleged that Mahamane supporters staged the streets blockading roads, burning tires, and chanting solidary songs. Sources reported that they had gathered outside the ruling party’s headquarters before police dispersed them with teargas.
Mr. Mahamane, who is currently 71 years old, and a former President, lost his seat after he was dethroned by a coup in 1996. Since then, his attempts to become President have turned futile. Him disputing the election results most likely steered the protestors to begin the riots.
Even before the Electoral Commission officiated the results, Mahamane’s campaign manager did not hesitate to allege fraud. He mentioned that there was theft, ballot box stuffing, and intimidation of voters. Of course, there was no evidence tied to the allegations. As a matter of fact, the Electoral Commission has not yet commented on the issue.
Nevertheless, Bazoum’s supporters are more than content with the results. Out of Niger’s 7.4 million eligible voters, 62.91% had shown up, which was more than enough to confirm the products’ legitimacy. Former President Mahamadou Issoufou was among the people celebrating Bazoum for his victory. He announced that he would gladly step down after his two five-year terms to pave the way for his long-term friend.
Democratically electing a leader meant progress for Niger, especially as coups have plagued the country since gaining independence from France. President Bazoum did not fail to thank his supporters after the results were released. He took to Twitter, where he promised to be a loyal servant to confront all the country’s problems. To live up to his promise, President Bazoum has a lot to do, mostly as the UN ranks Niger among the world’s poorest states with surging cases of Jihadist attacks.