Mohamed Bazoum solidifies lead in Niger’s presidential election runoff

Mohamed Bazoum sits at his pollitical party headquarters in Niamey, file. REUTERS/Joe Penney//File Photo

DAKAR (Reuters) – Niger’s ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum has solidified his lead in a presidential election runoff meant to usher in the first democratic transition of power in the West African nation, election commission data showed on Tuesday.

With about 97% of the ballots counted, Bazoum led his challenger, former president Mahamane Ousmane, with 55.5% of the vote, according to provisional results published by the electoral commission.

The data showed complete returns from four regions with three outstanding, and 259 out of 266 constituencies reporting.

Reporting by Bate Felix and Nellie Peyton; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich