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Niger's Ruling Party Wins Disputed Vote

Niger's Ruling Party Wins Disputed Vote

Niger's Ruling Party Wins Disputed Vote

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Niger's election commission says President Mamadou Tandja's ruling party has won a clear majority in a widely-condemned parliamentary vote.

The election commission said Saturday Mr. Tandja's party won 76 out of 133 seats, with the rest being split among other parties.

Niger's opposition boycotted Tuesday's vote, which the international community criticized as an illegal bid by President Tandja to indefinitely hold on to power.

Mr. Tandja held an August referendum that approved changes to the constitution allowing him to stay in office a third term and beyond. The president dissolved Niger's parliament in June, after lawmakers refused to allow the referendum saying it was illegal.

Tuesday's parliamentary elections prompted the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to suspend Niger from the regional bloc.

The African Union and the European Union also called on President Tandja to call off the election and settle the political crisis through dialogue.

President Tandja, who has been in power for 10 years, argued the people want him to finish several foreign-backed projects to develop the economy.

Despite large uranium deposits, Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.