Niger’s Mohamed Bazoum sworn in as president days after attempted coup

Former interior minister Mohamed Bazoun was sworn in Friday as president of Niger- a country that has historically struggled to have peaceful and democratic transitions of power.

Bazoum’s inauguration on Friday marks the first time that one elected leader has handed power to another in Niger since the nation got its independence in 1960.

With former president Mahamadou Issoufou stepping down after two terms in office, this transfer of power potentially signifies a monumental step toward a more democratic Niger.

However, the path toward a more peaceful and democratic Niger is not without its challenges and complications.

Friday’s inauguration ceremony reportedly had increased security as just two days prior to the inauguration, a number of soldiers opened fire on the presidential palace in an attempted coup that was thwarted by palace security.

Bazoum’s electoral victory in February has been followed by increased violence and protests disputing the election’s outcome.

Additionally, there have been numerous Islamist and jihadist attacks in western Niger, causing several hundred deaths this year.

There is much work to be done in Niger, which ranks worst in the world on the United Nation’s Human Development Index, indicating immense poverty and a poor standard of living.

However, Friday’s transfer of power indicates a potential step in the right direction. Yet, the nation’s future now lies largely in the hands of the newly elected President Mohamed Bazoum and how he chooses to govern.

This is a unique opportunity to promote increased prosperity and human rights across Niger but only if Bazoum makes these things a priority in his administration and truly aspires toward a more democratic Niger.

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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