Nigerien opposition decries new voting method in upcoming polls

Nigerien opposition parties on Wednesday denounced the newly introduced electoral method dubbed "vote with witnesses", which has been adopted by the country's electoral commission for the presidential and legislative elections on Feb. 21.

Independent Electoral Commission
Independent Electoral Commission

Earlier in the day, the president of Niger’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) Boube Ibrahim signed an order, authorizing use of the new method.

Independent Electoral Commission
Independent Electoral Commission
According to the order, “vote with witnesses” will be a form of identification of voters during the elections.
The method will see someone with no identification papers allowed to vote if two witnesses, who are registered at that particular polling station, can confirm his identity.

A cabinet meeting held on Feb. 10 chaired by Prime Minister Brigi Rafini discussed the issue and agreed that “voting with witnesses conformed to Niger’s electoral laws and practices.”

The method, which targets 1.5 million Nigeriens out of 6.5 million registered voters, has been strongly rejected by the opposition, which insists that “it violates the law and it will facilitate rigging.”

The opposition, operating under the banner of Coalition for Change 2016, or “Copa 2016,” insisted that “CENI did not have legislative powers to formulate laws and it should strictly respect the electoral law in order to conduct a fair electoral process.”

The opposition further warned that the government and CENI will be held entirely responsible for any negative consequences of a rigged election.

The opposition also urged the Nigerien civil society, the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union and the UN to “intervene and save the country’s electoral process that is under threat.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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