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President Tandja sets elections for mid-October

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-20

Niger's President Mamadou Tandja has signed a decree announcing a general election for October 20 to renew the parliament he dissolved in May, state radio says.

AFP - The electoral campaign in the crisis-hit country will last from September 28 to October 18, the radio said, but the opposition had already indicated it would boycott the elections and called for nationwide demonstrations Saturday.
  
Tandja had on Tuesday promulgated a new constitution which will allow him to stand for re-election and then seek unlimited mandates after a highly controversial referendum held on August 4.
  
Prime Minister Seini Oumarou also presented his government's resignation, the statement added.
  


Niger's constitutional court validated the result of the referendum to amend the constitution of the uranium-rich west African nation.
  
The opposition, however, denounced what it said was a "coup d'etat" by Tandja, and the referendum also came under attack from the international community.
  
On May 26 Tandja had dissolved the parliament which opposed his bid to hold the referendum.
  
Tandja, 71, has consistently claimed that his bid to cling to power was to fulfil "the will of the people."
  
The referendum will allow the president, in power since 1999, to stand for re-election after the December 22 end of his second tenure and thereafter seek repeated mandates.
  
It also beefs up the president's powers by making him the "sole holder of executive power." The president will head the army, name the prime minister and have complete control over the cabinet.

Date created : 2009-08-20

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