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Niger election Issoufou to face Oumarou in run off

Niger election Issoufou to face Oumarou in run off

Veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou is to face ex-Prime Minister Seini Oumarou in a run-off in Niger's first election since last year's coup, officials say.

Full results from January's first round are to be released shortly.

But election commission head Gousmane Abdourahamane confirmed the two would face each other in a second round.

Mr Oumarou is a close ally of Mamadou Tandja, ousted by the army in 2010 amid criticism for seeking a third term.

Military ruler Salou Djibo has promised to hand power to an elected leader before April.

For the 12 March run-off, Mr Oumarou is expected to be backed by a broad coalition, including the party of the third-placed candidate, Hama Amadou.

He also served as a prime minister under Mr Tandja.

Mr Oumarou heads the National Movement for the Development of Society (MNSD) of Mr Tandja.

A candidate needed more than 50% of the vote to be elected in the first round.

Voters were also choosing a new parliament.

A new constitution was passed in a referendum in October. This reduces the powers of future presidents and limits them to two terms in office.

Niger is one of the world's poorest countries but has large deposits of uranium in the north, under the Sahara Desert.

Posted on Friday 4th February 2011

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