Niger's main opposition names Oumarou as election candidate

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 29, 2015 2:52 PM

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Niger's main opposition party chose Seyni Oumarou on Sunday as its candidate to contest an election in February against President Mahamadou Issoufou who is seeking a second five-year term, party officials said.

Oumarou, 65, is a former prime minister who came second at the last election. He will again represent the National Movement for Development and Society (MNSD) party of ex-President Tandja Mamadou, who was ousted in a coup in 2010.

Issoufou is a key Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants in West Africa including Boko Haram and the ruling Niger Party for Democracy and Socialism expects him to win re-election in the first round.

A third candidate, opposition leader Hama Amadou, flew back to the country on Nov. 14 and was arrested on charges of suspected involvement in a baby trafficking scheme.

Niger has failed to secure the southeastern Diffa region where Boko Haram have staged numerous cross-border attacks from Nigeria in recent months, prompting the authorities to declare a state of emergency.

(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Richard Balmforth)