Niger will hold elections on Sunday that are expected to lead to the first transfer of power between two democratically elected presidents in a country plagued by Islamist violence.. Former Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum, the nominee of the ruling party, is seen as most likely to succeed President Muhammadu Issoufou, who leaves power after presiding over the largely desert country of 23 million people for two periods of five years each..
Bazum, 60, promised to continue with the policies of ISFO, and also pledged to eradicate endemic corruption..
“If you are lucky enough to win these elections, you will have chosen someone who is ready (to work) from the first day,” he said in a video clip broadcast by his campaign.“.
Niger is facing two security crises. It suffers from frequent attacks near the western borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS. It is also facing attacks near its southeastern border with Nigeria by Boko Haram. Hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the past year alone.
The economic situation is also critical. More than forty percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, and the Covid-19 pandemic has also slowed growth, adding to the effects of climate change and lowering the prices of uranium, the main product exported by the country..
Another 29 candidates are running for Bazoum.
A peaceful transfer of power will be a cornerstone of Niger, which has seen four coups since its independence from France in 1960.