Mohamed Bazoum of Niger’s governing Party for Democracy and Socialism will face off against former president Mahamane Ousmane in a runoff presidential election today.
Bazoum carried the first round of voting with 39.33% of the ballots cast, falling short of the 50% needed to win the election outright. Ousmane received the next highest share, earning 17% of the vote.
The winner will face several challenges, particularly ongoing violence from Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Terrorist attacks on Niger’s western border with Mali and Burkina Faso, and on its southeastern border with Nigeria, killed hundreds of civilians last year.
To protect its people, Niamey will have to adequately address insecurity along its borders, especially along the boundary with Nigeria. Niger’s 1,497 km, largely unpoliced border with Nigeria has served as the country’s main conduit of illegal arms trafficking and unlawful mining operations, accounting for approximately 80% of all mining operations in northwestern Nigeria. Influencing today’s vote, both candidates have proposed long-term plans to improve federal-state cooperation, domestic law enforcement and infrastructure development—likely the most viable options for the country to mitigate the transnational threats that it is currently facing.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.