News / Africa

Amendments to Niger Constitution to Raise Requirements for Presidential Candidates

Ricci Shryock

Niger's ruling military council has made changes to the country's proposed constitution. Citizens will vote on whether or not to approve the new constitution next month.

As Niger's electorate prepares to vote on a new constitution next month, the ruling military council recently announced amendments to the proposed document.

Most of the amendments were well received by the nation's Consultative Council, which is overseeing Niger's transition from military to democratic rule. But new educational and age requirements for any new presidential candidate have met opposition.

A spokesman for deposed President Mamadou Tandja's party, Tamboura Issoufou, says some of the amendments are an attempt to impose the will of a minority onto the majority.

The presumed presidential candidate for Issoufou's party, the National Movement of the Development Society, does not meet the military's proposed new qualifications to run for president. Issoufou added there are people within the Consultative Council who are trying to falsely profit by adding these amendments.

The vice president of the opposition PNDS Teriah party, Bazoum Mohamed, said he was generally satisfied with the amendments that the military council put forward, though he does object to the new educational requirements for president.

He added that they are aware that there is a large party whose candidate would not meet this requirement, and this makes it appear that they are purposefully excluding candidates.

Niger has been under military rule since February, when the army overthrew President Tandja after he came under local and international criticism for changing the constitution that removed term limits.

Comprised of 131 members, Niger's military ruling military council then tasked the Consultative Council to ensure a civilian government is in place by March next year.

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