A presidential election in Niger aimed at returning the West African uranium exporter to civilian rule will go ahead as planned on January 31 after logistical problems were solved, the ruling junta said late on Monday.

Candidates asked the junta to postpone the election by three weeks and replace the electoral commission after complaints that municipal elections this month were marred by disorganisation.

We have discussed this and found solutions to difficulties experienced in the municipal elections, junta chief Salou Djibo said after talks with the main candidates.

Among the problems, a lack of fuel meant that election organisers were unable to deliver voting equipment to rural polling stations. Niger is the size of France and one of the world's poorest countries.

A military coup in February 2010 toppled former president, Mamadou Tandja, who defied international criticism to extend his own mandate and presidential powers.

Niger's uranium deposits have attracted billions of dollars of investment, mainly from French nuclear giant Areva. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) is developing oil fields in the southeast.