Daily Trust (Abuja)

3 February 2011

West Africa: Ecowas, EU Say Niger Elections Satisfactory

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU) observers who monitored Monday's elections in Niger Republic have expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the polls.

They commended the country's electoral commission, citizens and other stakeholders for the peaceful and transparent manner the elections were conducted.

Mr. Koffi Sama, former Prime Minister of the Togolese Republic, Head of the ECOWAS team of observers deployed to the six administrative regions of Niger and the Urban Community of Niamey said the elections were free, fair, transparent and credible.

He said Niger electoral commission managed to organise the elections despite some technical problems faced during the poll saying that the freedom of expression and movement of all candidates were respected.

The statement however appealed to the presidential candidates to submit all contentious issues to competent judicial institutions and applauded the efforts deployed by the transitional authority especially by General Salou Djibo, Head of State and President of the Supreme Council for the restoration of democracy and his strict adherence to the transition timetable.

"The election commission has, overall, managed to organise the elections despite some technical problems. The freedom of expression and movement of all candidates was respected," the European Union observer mission said in a statement.

The African Union also gave its approval of the poll.

"Despite some hitches we noticed, the AU mission is satisfied with the election process and the way in which voting took place," the body said in a statement.

The election commission said it had been told that an unknown number of fake voter identification cards had been sold ahead of voting.

A run-off will be held in March if no candidate wins an outright majority in the first round.

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