14th March, 2011
Niger’s electoral commission says veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou has won the country’s presidential run-off election, the Voice of America has reported.
The commission said Monday that Mr. Issoufou defeated former prime minister Seini Oumarou in Saturday’s poll, 58 to 42 percent.
The presidential election is meant to return Niger to civilian rule, more than a year after the military toppled President Mamadou Tandja.
The military ousted Mr. Tandja in February 2010, after he forced through constitutional changes to extend his term and increase his powers.
Issoufou won the first-round election in January and was later endorsed by several other candidates.
About 6.7 million people were eligible to vote in the run-off. Election officials said voter turnout was between 35 to 40 percent.
A new constitution, passed in a referendum last October, gives the military until April 6 to return Niger to civilian rule.
The west African country has a long history of coups and unrest since winning independence from France in 1960.
Niger has rich deposits of uranium but remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Among other problems, the country is dealing with drought, high unemployment, and terrorism from al-Qaida’s north Africa branch.