afrol News, 15 March - The elections in Niger, gained by long-time opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou, are described as a "model" for Africa. Also the democratic transition process is praised.
On Monday, Niger's Independent Electoral Commission declared Mr Issoufou the winner of the second poll round of the country's presidential elections, having gained 57.95 percent of the votes; or a total of 1.82 million votes. The vote ends a one-year "model" democratic transition process in Niger following a military coup.
Mr Issoufou heads Niger's social democratic PNDS party - the historic opposition party - and made his fifth run for the presidency. He beat former Prime Minister Seini Oumarou, who achieved 42.05 pecent of the votes; or a total of 1.32 million votes.
The Electoral Commission's results are still provisional, but the large margin in favour of Mr Issoufou led it to declare a clear winner. The results still have to be approved by Niger's Constitutional Court before Mr Issoufou can be sworn in as President on 6 April.
The defeated candidate from the toppled ex-President's party, Mr Oumarou, has yet to recognise the victory of Mr Issoufou, but he has not made any statements criticising the electoral process.
Indeed, the electoral process has been hailed as "a model for Africa" by international observers and Nigerien civil society groups. For example European Union (EU) electoral observation commission leader Santiago Fisas Ayxela yesterday considered the ballot both "credible" and "transparent". Earlier, Mr Fisas said Niger's election was "an example of how to return to democracy in peace."
General Salou Djibo - who led th
EU election observer mission chief Santiago Fisas and military leaders in Zinder, eastern Niger
e 2010 popular coup against increasingly authoritarian President Mamadou Tandja and since then has led Niger towards a democratic transition - early announced he wanted Niger to develop into a "model democracy" through an all-inclusive transition process.
On Saturday, as the junta leader cast his vote - without announcing whom he supported - Mr Djibou said he was proud about the "honourable vote" Niger was experiencing. If successful, "our democratic achievement will set an example for the rest of Africa," he said.
General Djibo is gathering much praise for the junta's transition process. EU "Foreign Minister" Catherine Ashton today commended "the transition authorities for their efforts to respect the roadmap to which they were committed since April 2010." She further announced the "restoration of full cooperation" between Niger and the EU.
Also President-elect Issoufou yesterday hailed the military junta and General Djibou in particular for the transition process and for organising "free and transparent elections" in Niger. He further hailed the contribution of "impartial" media and journalists in the electoral process; in addition to his opposing candidate for a "fair play".
Junta leader Djibo himself received representatives of the many election observer missions stationed in Niger and foreign diplomats to hear, from first hand sources, how the poll exercise had been evaluated. It is believed he was mostly given a positive feedback.
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