Niger’s ‘Lion’ seeks new term as voters head to the polls


NIAMEY: Niger’s voters went to the polls Sunday for a presidential election that has all the makings of a political thriller — including a jailed candidate facing baby-trafficking charges, a failed military coup, and fears of jihadist attacks. A vast desert nation blessed with immense riches of uranium, gold, iron and oil but reputedly the poorest on the planet, Niger is electing a head of state, as well as a new parliament, with outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou hoping for a second five-year term. Known as the “Zaki” or “lion” in Hausa, the majority language in Niger, Issoufou, a 63-year-old mathematician and mining engineer turned politician, faces a total of 14 rivals including a particularly tough challenge from two former prime ministers and an ex-president.



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