Elections

pres-electionThe big news in Niger is the Presidential election. During my visit in February 2010, there was a military coup. As I understand it, the president at the time had just changed the constitution so that he could stay in power for 3 more years. One of the generals didn’t agree with that decision, and so there was a coup. That’s a simplified version, but the main point is that it left everyone wondering if Niger’s government would return to democratic rule. With that in mind, all of my Nigerien friends were relieved and happy that an election for president took place last week Monday. The presidential election process is different in Niger than the US. In order for a candidate to win, he must have at least 50% of the vote. Since there were 10 candidates this time, that’s very difficult to accomplish in one election day.  Instead, it’s more likely that they will determine the top two candidates who received the most votes. Once that has been announced, then those candidates have a few weeks to consolidate their support and continue campaigning. There will be a run off on March 12. It sounds like they will announce the winner(s) sometime this week.