Niger election: Voters to choose president in tense polls

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Voters in Niger are to go the polls in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

President Mahamadou Issoufou is hoping to secure a second term in the impoverished West African nation.

His main opposition rival, Hama Amadou, is currently behind bars accused of trafficking babies, a charge he strongly denies.

The run-up to the vote has been marred by accusations of repression and a row over identification documents.

The authorities have announced that roughly 1.5 million people without ID papers will be able to cast their ballots by having witnesses vouch for them, in a move that was condemned by opposition leaders.

Polling stations are due to open at about 08:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Sunday.

Security is expected to be tight amid fears of jihadist attacks by groups based in neighbouring Nigeria, Mali and Libya.

Meanwhile President Issoufou says his government foiled a coup plot in December.

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