Niger ruling party's Bazoum declared winner of presidential election
Niger ruling party's Bazoum declared winner of presidential election, Feb. 23, 2021.

Niger ruling PNDS party candidate Mohamed Bazoum is promising to be president to all citizens after being declared winner of Sunday’s presidential run-off election. 

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Issaka Souna, said Tuesday Bazoum, who represents the party of Democracy and Socialism, won with just under 56% of the vote, based on provisional results that still must be reviewed by the Constitutional Court. 

The vote marks the first transition from one democratically elected leader to another as President Mahamadou Issoufou leaves office following two five-year terms, with his ally assuming the leadership after advancing to the second round vote from the December election.

Niger ruling party's Bazoum declared winner of presidential election, Feb. 23, 2021.

Supporters of opposition candidate Mahamane Ousmane, who secured a little more than 44% of the votes, are alleging voter fraud, claiming votes were stolen, although no proof has been made public.  

The chairman of the electoral commission said while no credible evidence has been presented to support fraud allegations, the vote was marred by separate attacks that killed eight people in two regions where Islamist militants operate.

A landmine struck a vehicle in the western Tillabery region,near the border with Mali, killing seven election workers heading to the polls. 

Bazoum takes leadership in a country that faces the global challenge of slowing the spread of COVID-19 as well as a nation struggling with militant groups from neighboring Mali and Nigeria coming into Niger.