Niger's opposition political parties
say they will pull their representatives out of the Independent Electoral
Commission Wednesday. The move is an attempt to prevent embattled President Mamadou
Tandja's planned referendum from taking place.
The president, whose second
five-year term ends in December, wants to change the constitution to extend his
rule for three more years. He has called for an August fourth constitutional
referendum despite intense opposition protest.
Abdullahi Jauri is a member of the now
dissolved Niger parliament. He told VOA that the opposition
would not condone what he described as President Tandja's antics.
Wednesday, we are going to withdraw our representatives. We are going to give
our admission to the Independent Electoral Commission because there is no
disposal in the constitution to give the right to the president…so we cannot
give our consent to such masquerade," Jauri said.
Tandja has pressed ahead with his plan to hold the
referendum despite the Constitutional Court ruling that it would be illegal,
and despite growing international criticism of his position.
the president has named former Justice Minister Boube Oumarou to head the new
seven-member Constitutional Court, including four magistrates, one lawyer and a
But Jauri described as
unfortunate the reconstitution of the court.
"He has no right because in
the constitution, they said that the members of the court are irremovable, but
in spite of that he (President Tandja) did it. So, we are going to take action
to see that this referendum will not take place," Jauri said.
He reiterated the need for
the opposition to thwart all attempts to hold a referendum.
"Maybe it is a very risky
stand, but now we have to go crescendo to stop this masquerade by any means,"
Jauri said opposition
parliamentary candidates have refused to be part of the upcoming election.
"Look, yesterday was the
date where all the candidates of the members of parliament should take their
files in the ministry of internal, they refused to take them," Jauri said.
He said President Tandja
appears to be intolerant of any dissent.
"He is not listening to
anybody; he is not listening to ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African
States); he is not listening to the United Africa (African Union); he is not
listening to Ban Ki-Moon (United Nations Secretary General)," he said.
Jauri said Nigeriens are
ready to resist President Tandja's planned referendum.