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View on Africa: Much at stake for Niger's 2016 elections
Date: 2 December 2015
Time: 11h00 - 12h00
Venue: Online via VoiceBoxer

Pour la version française, cliquez ici

Click here to watch the briefing

The issue

In February 2016, Niger will hold presidential and legislative elections in a context of recurrent attacks by Boko Haram and growing political tensions. 

As one of the poorest countries in Africa, the electoral process presents Niger with two major challenges: holding peaceful, transparent and credible elections, and ensuring the security of the country and its citizens.

Given these challenges, is the country prepared for the 2016 elections? What are the key issues and risks for the electoral process?

Presented by Dr David Zounmenou, an ISS senior research fellow based in Pretoria, this week’s View on Africa briefing shed light on what is at stake in Niger's upcoming elections. 

Key points

  • The current political environment is tense. Past political tensions have led to two military coups since 1990 – the first in 1996 and the second in 2009.
  • The 2010 transition brought Niger back to democratic order, but numerous challenges remain regarding the consolidation of democratic gains.
  • The 2016 elections will be an important opportunity for authorities to consolidate the democratisation process. The challenge here is to hold free, transparent and peaceful elections, to respond to the dire socio-economic conditions of citizens and to avoid another military coup.
  • The 2016 elections will take place in highly tense and fragmented political environment. The electoral process will pit the current ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism against a great number of opposition parties.
  • The opposition has set up two blocks – the Alliance for the Republic, Democracy and Reconciliation in Niger and the Patriotic Republican Front.
  • Political experience in Niger reveals consistent voting patterns and regional and ethnic affiliations.
  • The army is an important actor in Niger, having been well-represented in the government over the last 20 years and has adapted to ensure the government remains on a democratic path.
  • There have been delays and uncertainties regarding the electoral process, including allegations of voter registration rigging.

What to watch

  • Possible postponement of the elections; although the government insists it will adhere to the current electoral calendar.
  • A first-round knockout in favour of the incumbent could trigger violence, however a run-off might appease both the opposition and the ruling party.
  • If violence breaks out, the army may be required to step in.

About View on Africa

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Vues d’Afrique: Niger, perspectives sur les élections de 2016

En février 2016, le Niger tiendra les élections présidentielles et législatives. Ces élections ont lieu dans un contexte caractérisé d’une part par des attaques récurrentes de Boko Haram et d’autre part, par des tensions politiques. L’un des pays les pauvres du continent, le processus électoral présente pour le Niger deux défis majeurs: assurer la sécurité du pays et des citoyens et tenir des élections transparentes et crédibles dans un environnement apaisé.

Quel est l’état de préparations des élections? Quel en est l’enjeu principal et quels sont les risques qui peuvent en découler?

Présentée par Dr David Zounmenou, chercheur senior basé à Pretoria, la réunion de cette semaine analyse les préoccupations et les enjeux des élections présidentielles et législatives au Niger.

À propos de Vues d’Afrique

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Lusungu Kamudoni
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