Niger Ruling Party Candidate Widens Lead in Presidential Run-off

NIGER’S ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum strengthened a lead over his challenger on Monday as vote-counting continued in the West African nation’s presidential run-off, electoral commission data from three-quarters of constituencies showed.

With 196 out of a total 266 constituencies counted, provisional results showed former interior minister Bazoum ahead of his challenger, former president Mahamane Ousmane, with nearly 52.9% of the vote.

The run-off vote, meant to usher in Niger’s first transition of power from one democratically elected leader to another, was held on Sunday after neither candidate secured a majority in the first round in December.

Voting was marred by the death of seven election workers after their vehicle hit a landmine on Sunday, underscoring a fraught security climate as a result of Islamist insurgencies.

One of the world’s poorest nations, Niger has also struggled with drought, floods, coronavirus and weak prices for its main export, uranium.