Niger’s electoral commission is set to announce the final results of the country’s presidential election on Saturday with the candidate of the ruling party set for a first-round win.
Provisional results showed Mohamed Bazoum as having garnered 1.4 million votes, only trailed by former president Mahamane Ousmane with 675,000.
Former prime ministers Seini Oumarou and Albade Abouba were on course for 345,000 and 260,000 votes respectively.
The commission had provisionally earmarked Friday for the publication of the results but said this would now occur at 10 am (0900 GMT) Saturday at the Palais des Congres in Niamey.
Insecurity overshadowed campaigning, with Niger attacked by extremists on its southwestern border with Mali as well as its southeastern frontier with Nigeria. Five years of violence have cost hundreds of lives with many more displaced.
Bazoum, 60, a former interior and foreign minister, hopes to clinch victory in the first round, which would be a first in the former French colony that also hopes to see a first peaceful handover between elected presidents.
Issoufou, who was elected in 2011 after the country’s last coup in 2010, is voluntarily stepping down after two five-year terms.
In a New Year radio address, he hailed the election as “a new, successful page in our country’s democratic history.”
Bazoum campaigned on promises of emphasizing security and education.
If a second round proves necessary, it will take place on February 20.