Niger’s ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum was on Tuesday closing in on victory in the presidential election, electoral commission data showed, but his opponent alleged fraud and demanded that the commission suspend publishing results.
With results from about 97% of constituencies reported from Sunday’s election, Bazoum led his challenger, former president Mahamane Ousmane, with 55.5% of the vote share.
The election is meant to usher in the first transition in the West African nation from one democratically elected leader to another, with President Mahamadou Issoufou stepping down after two five-year terms.
The commission’s data, based on 259 out of 266 constituencies, showed Bazoum with a lead of more than 480 000 votes out of over 4.3 million cast.
In a statement, Ousmane’s campaign alleged widespread fraud, including the theft and stuffing of ballot boxes and threats against voters. It did not provide any evidence.
“We demand the immediate suspension of the publication of these results, which do not in any way take into account the expression of the Nigerien people for change,” it said.
The electoral commission has not yet commented on allegations of irregularities. It plans to declare the final results on Wednesday.