Nearly 7.5 million people voted to choose a successor to President Issoufou.
The counting began in Niger after an election that could lead to the country’s first peaceful transition of power since its independence from France 60 years ago.
Almost 7.5 million people vote Sunday to choose a successor to President Mahamadou Issoufou who resigns after two five-year terms at the head of the country of 23 million inhabitants.
The results are expected within five days and it could take two weeks for them to be ratified by the Constitutional Court.
A winner will need 50% of the vote plus one to avoid a second round, otherwise a second round involving the top two candidates will take place in February.
Hama Amadou, who finished second in the last election, was barred from running due to a criminal conviction, leaving the opposition without an obvious figurehead until last week, when his party called on supporters to run for Mahamane Ousmane, who was president from 1993 to 1996.
The elections took place against a backdrop of security concerns.
Ahmed Idris of Al Jazeera, of the capital Niamey, said: “It was widely expected that there would have been violence during these elections, but so far the number of attacks or incidents recorded has been minimal.
He added that “officials felt it was a huge success for Niger, a country sandwiched between violent groups in the north, west and south of the country.”
In recent years, Niger has been plagued by deadly attacks from armed groups in neighboring countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso.
Earlier this month, 27 people died in an attack claimed by Boko Haram.
But security is not the only concern of Nigeriens.
The country’s economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with a drop in the price of its main export uranium.
It has also suffered from the closure of the border with Nigeria, a key gateway for the import of essential products.
“Every time I do this [vote] as a duty to our country, ”Hussaini Adam, who has voted in every election since independence, told Al Jazeera.
“But I also expect our leaders to solve our problems.”