Niger's opposition says it will Monday call back in session the country's dissolved parliament in defiance of
embattled President Mamadou Tandja's emergency powers.
The opposition parties contend that the president flouted the
constitution after failing to organize fresh elections 45 days after he
Some political observers describe the strategy as
dangerous and one that could potentially deepen the ongoing political
This comes after some opposition leaders were arrested over the
weekend while protesting the new constitution which
extends President Tandja's term for three years.
Bazoum Mohammed, vice-president
of the Party for Socialism and Democracy in Niger (PSDN), told VOA that the government's flouting of the new constitution is illegal and
an affront to the tenets of democracy.
Monday, we have to call back the former national assembly, our parliament
because the constitution allows him (Tandja) to do it (dissolve parliament),
but the constitution says that he has at least 45 days or 90 days to organize a
new election. And now after 90 days he has not organized election," Mohammed said.
said Tandja has failed to abide by a provision in the Niger constitution.
want to know about the (provision) calling for election two months ago. He took
a decree calling for parliamentary election (after dissolving parliament), and
he did not organize it. So, since he refused to do that we consider that now we
have to call back the former parliament," he said.
dismissed accusations that the opposition's move is illegal.
can't be illegal because he is the illegality he refused to respect the High
Court, the Constitutional Court decision that forbade him to organize his
referendum," Mohammed said.
said the opposition is determined to fight for the rights of Nigeriens.
is the price we have to pay for democracy. We don't recognize his emergency
powers. He has no right to have such powers. So, now we know that we are in
accordance of legality and legality is with us rather than with him (Tandja),"
said the opposition has grounds to rise up against what he called President
Tandja's subversion of the constitution.
of the decision of the constitutional court that said that his referendum was
illegal, it is the first step and the basis of our struggle," he said.
leaders of the opposition were arrested over the weekend while protesting the
amendment to the constitution which extends President Tandja's five-year term
limit for three additional years.
President Tandja was scheduled to hand over power later in December when his
term expires as Niger's constitutionally elected leader. But Tandja contends that
Nigeriens wants him to continue beyond his term limits.
local and international observers have condemned the term limit extension,
describing it as a setback in Niger's fledgling democracy.
said there is a need for Nigeriens to fight for democracy.
you fight for democracy, you are not to say what will I have, can I survive,
these questions there (is) no opportunity to put them. We have to fight and we
are ready to pay the price of democracy and freedom for which we are fighting,"
President Tandja has set October 20 as the date for Nigeriens to elect