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Niger to Hold Presidential Election in January

Niger's independent electoral commission has set a date for elections that are intended to return the country to civilian rule after a military coup in February.

Election officials in Niger announced the country's much-awaited presidential election will take place January 3rd, with a run-off planned for January 14th, if necessary.

Electoral commission president, Abdourhamane Ghousmane, says he is calling for all those involved in the electoral process to work with the commission as it organizes the vote. He says he is inviting Niger's technical and financial partners to support the commission in restoring democracy to Niger.

Legislative elections are also planned during that time.

Ghousmane said the commission will have just eight months to organize seven polls estimated to cost $57-million. There are already concerns that Niger's military government does not have enough money for the poll and that international funding will be needed.

The electoral commission says Niger's new president will be sworn in March 11th, 10 days later than was stipulated by the National Consultative Council, a body set up by the military junta to facilitate the country's return to constitutional rule.

The army took power in a February coup against President Mamadou Tandja, and soldiers promised elections within the year.

President Tandja had grown increasingly unpopular since expanding his power and giving himself another three years in office through a controversial referendum in August 2009.