NIGER: Archbishop Urges Christians to Avoid Ethnicity in Elections

NIAMEY FEBRUARY 12, 2016 (CISA) – Archbishop Laurent Lompo of the Catholic Archdiocese Niamey has called on faithful to, “vote in complete freedom, without ethnic or sectarian influences,” in the February 21 General Elections.

“During Lent there will be elections in our country. As voters, activists and candidates, we must take care to put in first place the truth, where fraud seems to triumph, and respect the voice of others,” Archbishop Lompo said in a pastoral letter for the beginning of Lent, reported Fides.

“Our policy choice will be made in conscience and in freedom, far from any sectarian, clan, ethnic and regionalist spirit,” the Archbishop said, adding. “As Catholic Christians we have a duty to take part in the future of our country, without being manipulated.”

Archbishop Lompo further said that civic commitment is a dynamic where one exercises mercy and quoted Pope Francis stating that “mercy is the pillar of the Church”.

“May this time of Lent therefore be a moment to become aware of God’s mercy,” he said. The general elections in Niger will be held on February 21 in which voters will be electing the President and members of the National Assembly.

The President is elected by two-round votes. If no candidate is elected in the first round, a runoff will be held on March 20. 15 candidates have been cleared by the constitutional court to run during the elections, among them President Mahamadou Issoufou the incumbent, who is running for a second term.

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