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Niger Opposition Suggests Nine-Month Transition Period to Democracy

  • Peter Clottey

A leading member of Niger’s opposition coalition said the group does not have any reason to doubt the military junta’s promise to return the country to constitutional rule soon.

A leading member of Niger’s opposition coalition said the group does not have any reason to doubt the military junta’s promise to return the country to constitutional rule soon.

Bazoum Mohammed said the opposition is proposing a nine-month transitional period for the junta to organize a credible vote.

“We have done a statement and in this statement we proposed to the military to have a transition which has to last nine months. And we will do this proposal in the Consultative Council that will be set up next week maybe,” he said.

The military regime which recently came to power by overthrowing Niger’s long-time ruler Mamadou Tandja is currently setting up a Consultative Council that comprises, among others, political party representatives, rights and civil society groups.

The junta said the objective of the Consultative Council will be to determine the period of the transition to democracy, draft a new constitution, create a new voter register and organize democratic elections.

Mohammed said the opposition proposal of a nine-month transitional period is pragmatic.

“We have the experience in 1999 the military transition lasted only eight months (and) we think that it is enough to organize election. We must not have any other thing more to do without election. If there is another thing to do we can do while we are organizing the elections so, we are convinced that nine months is enough,” Mohammed said.

The military junta is yet to announce a date for elections despite calls by the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the entire international community to speedily return Niger to constitutional rule.

Mohammed urged the junta to use the previous voter register to organize a speedy election.

“We don’t need a new voter register. This one we had is still very good. We agreed with it; we had done it together and there is no change that happened since that moment. I think that we don’t need to spend money to do another (voter) register. This one is very good and we agree with it even though we were in the opposition when (it was) done,” Mohammed said.

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