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Saturday, 27 November, 1999, 03:58 GMT
New president for Niger
Voting Elections follow seven months of army rule

A former army officer, Mamadou Tandja, has been elected president of Niger in a poll called to return the country to democracy.

Mr Tandja, who has served as interior minister in a previous military regime, took 60% of the vote to beat his only rival in the election run-off, the former prime minister Mahamadou Issoufou.

Turnout in the presidential ballot was 39 percent, the electoral commission said. The nation's high court must confirm the count.

An alliance led by Mr Tandja's National Movement for Society in Development (MNSD) party is also reported to have won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections held on the same day.

The military government, led by Major Daouda Mallam Wanke, has promised to hand over to a civilian government by the end of this year.

President Mainassara was assassinated in April President Mainassara was assassinated in April
He said after casting his vote that he was anxious to leave power and would do so with his head held high.

The army took power in Niger seven months ago after President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara was killed by members of his own guard.

Foreign aid

Niger's military leaders have come under intense international pressure to restore an elected government and pave the way for the resumption of much-needed foreign aid.

Mr Tandja beat the six other candidates in the first round of elections last month scooping 32% of votes. Mr Mahamadou came second with 22%.

The new president will take control on 1 January.

About 4.5m people were registered to vote at more than 10,000 voting stations scattered across Niger, a vast land-locked country lying south of the Sahara Desert.

Students in the capital Niamey had threatened to disrupt the election. But there were no reports of violence.

The students are angry at delays of up to 10 months in the payment of their allowances. Civil servants are also owed months of back pay as are soldiers, who have mutinied in the past.

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See also:
09 Apr 99 |  Africa
Niger: A copybook coup d'etat
09 Apr 99 |  Africa
Niger Government accepts election demands
04 Oct 99 |  Africa
Soldiers mutiny in Niger
04 Sep 99 |  Africa
Seven candidates qualify for Niger elections
11 Aug 99 |  Africa
Niger delays election

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