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Losing Candidate Concedes Defeat in Niger Election

Seini Oumarou, former Prime Minister of Niger (file photo)

Former Prime Minister Seini Oumarou has conceded defeat in Niger's presidential election.

Oumarou told reporters Wednesday that he has decided against asking Niger's constitutional council to annul the election results.

The country's electoral commission said Monday that veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou won the poll 58 to 42 percent.

Oumaru's concession paves the way for a smooth transition back to civilian government in Niger, after more than a year of military rule.

The army toppled President Mamadou Tandja in February 2010, after he forced through constitutional changes to extend his term and expand his powers.

The military then supported a new constitution that requires it to give up power by April 6 of this year.

Issoufou was expected to win Saturday's runoff election after taking the most votes during the first-round poll in January, and getting endorsements from several other presidential candidates.

Despite rich deposits of uranium, Niger has been plagued with poverty and instability, experiencing multiple coups since independence in 1960.

The country has also become a base for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which has carried numerous killings and kidnappings of Westerners in Niger and nearby countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.