Niger's ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum has won the presidential election with 55.75% of the vote, beating former President Mahamane Ousmane, th
Niger’s ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum has won the presidential election with 55.75% of the vote, beating former President Mahamane Ousmane, the electoral commission said on Tuesday, AFP reports.
Nigeriens went to the polls on Sunday in the second round of the country’s presidential election. The runoff between the two political heavyweights is expected to pave the way for Niger‘s first democratic transition of power since independence from France more than six decades ago.
Ousmane, who took nearly 17% of the vote in the first round, can count on the support of a coalition of 18 opposition parties as well as Hama Amadou, previously thought to be the most formidable candidate against Bazoum. But Amadou was banned from running because of a conviction for baby trafficking which he has slammed as politically motivated.
Bazoum is a Nigerien Arab politician who has been President of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya) since 2011.
He studied philosophy at the University of Dakar in Senegal, where he found his roots in the political left, and eventually returned to Niger to become a schoolteacher.
He served in the government of Niger as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1995 to 1996 and again from 2011 to 2015. He was Minister of State at the Presidency from 2015 to 2016, and was Minister of State for the Interior between 2016 and the summer of 2020 when he resigned to focus on running for the 2020 presidential election.
Born in 1960 at Bilabrine in the southeastern Diffa region, Bazoum is a member of Niger’s ethnic Arab minority, which some opposition figures seized on to accuse him of having “foreign” origins.
In 2011, he masterminded Issoufou’s first election victory and reportedly went on to handle all sensitive cases, being consulted on matters ranging from diplomacy, the economy and national security.