Niger is holding a presidential run-off vote on Sunday as citizens choose a new leader towards first democratic transfer of power.
Outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou announced his decision to step down after two five-year terms.
His decision has been hailed by many and considered significant in promoting democracy in the West African nation.
Issoufou has said “Handing over power in 2021 to a democratically elected successor… will be my greatest achievement.”
President Mahamadou Issoufou arrives Hotel de Ville to vote for his successor. He’ll soon handle over power peacefully- the first leader to do so since 1960. https://t.co/0v725xH0lY pic.twitter.com/LgGttx3AEj
— Fred Muvunyi (@MuvunyiF) February 21, 2021
Sunday’s run-off election is between the outgoing president’s favourite, Mohamed Bazoum or Mahamane Ousmane and who was elected president in 1993 but toppled in a coup three years later.
Ousmane, 71, is running for president for the fifth time since he was toppled in a coup.
But Bazoum remains the strong favourite after winning 39.3 percent of the first round vote on December 27, 2020.
The 60-year-old former interior minister has the support of the candidates who came third and fourth in the first round.
7.4 million of the Niger’s 22 million population are eligible to vote on Sunday.
Niger like other countries in the Sahel region such as Mali and Burkina Faso, increasingly face issues of security and attacks from militants.
The next president will have a major task addressing this problem and growing the country’s economy as well.