Niger profile

President: Mahamadou Issoufou

Veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou was declared winner of the March 2011 presidential polls held to end a year-long military junta.

In his fifth shot at the country's top job, the 59-year-old leader of the Social Democratic Party won 58 percent of the vote.

The election was aimed at returning democracy after former president Mamadou Tandja was ousted by the army in February 2010.

Regional observers and French election monitors praised Niger for the peaceful election.

After a decade in power, Mr Tandja had plunged the country into crisis when he attempted to extend his rule beyond the constitutional limits.

The military junta that overthrew him vowed to usher in a civilian government, and none of its members ran in the election.

Since independence from France in 1960, Niger has been wracked by coups.

In 2011 a security official said five military officers had been arrested for planning to assassinate President Issoufou and seize power.

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