Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou took a clear lead in his bid for re-election but failed to win an outright victory at weekend polls, forcing the race into a second round run-off, official results showed Friday.
The CENI election commission said the 63-year-old won 48.41 percent of the February 21 vote, with his nearest challenger, jailed opposition leader Hama Amadou, picking up 17.41 percent.
The final round is due to be held before the end of March.
Issoufou, who has sought a new term pledging to keep the vast uranium-rich nation safe from terror attacks, had hoped for a quick first-round win but was left tantalisingly short of the majority "knock-out" victory he had pledged.
Amadou, a former premier, is behind bars on shadowy baby trafficking charges he says were concocted.
About 7.5 million people were eligible to vote in the elections, whose credibility was questioned by the opposition.
A total of 15 candidates ran for president of the impoverished country straddling the Sahara Desert, rocked over the past year by attacks by Boko Haram jihadists operating out of neighbouring Nigeria, as well as Islamist fighters in the north.
The African Union, which deployed 40 observers, has said it was generally satisfied with the organisation of the vote, despite delays in some areas caused by logistical glitches.
But the opposition COPA 2016 coalition has said it "reserved the right to reject the grotesque and cooked up results."
Date created : 2016-02-26