NIAMEY: Niger’s ruling party on Saturday named President Mahamadou Issoufou as its candidate for next year’s presidential election, an AFP journalist said.
Issoufou, 63, was selected “so that he can continue the work he started for the benefit of the people of Niger,” said Bazoum Mohamed, president of the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) at a ceremony marking the occasion which was attended by 5,000 people.
“President Issoufou’s record has been very satisfying,” he said.
Issoufou was first elected in 2011 in a vote organised by a military junta which in 2010 overthrew president Mamadou Tandja, who was seeking to stay in power beyond the two-term limit set by Niger’s constitution.
Issoufou’s nomination makes him the third candidate for the presidential poll, which will held concurrently with parliamentary elections, with a first round to held on February 21.
Former parliamentary speaker Hama Amadou, who is living in France, and ex-planning minister Amadou Boubacar Cisse have also announced their candidacies.
Both supported Issoufou in the second round of voting in 2011 after their own bids for the presidency fell through.
The United Nations called in September for “peaceful and credible elections” amid political tension and threats to stability from jihadist forces in the desert north and from the radical Islamists of Boko Haram based in neighbouring northeast Nigeria.
Niger, whose primary source of foreign income is uranium, has joined a regional military alliance to fight Boko Haram, infamous for mass abductions, village massacres and suicide bombings by women and teenagers. The Islamists began attacking southern Niger last February.