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Niger Opposition Faults International Community

Niger Opposition Faults International Community

Niger's opposition political parties are blaming the international community, including the United Nations, for not intervening in the ongoing political crisis.

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The parties also singled out the African Union as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for refusing to act while they said President Mamadou Tandja subverted the constitution.

They are demanded immediate action to stop the parliamentary election scheduled for October 20th.

But the government has said the election will go on as planned despite the opposition's boycott threats.

Bazoum Mohammed is the Vice-President of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), said that Nigeriens feel disappointed by the international community's failure to stop President Tandja.

"Before the referendum organized by Mr. Tandja, there has been many statements from ECOWAS and from the United Nations. The secretary general of the U.N. did two statements in one week to say he was concerned about Niger... we are astonished about this situation," Mohammed said.

He said despite opposition protest the government is going ahead with the parliamentary election.

"Now, Tandja is organizing a legislative election without us. We see them (International community) talking a lot about Guinea and it seems to us that they want to see Nigeriens killed like the Guineans and then only (will) they consider that there is a situation. It is wrong it is a great mistake," he said.

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Mohammed denied the opposition is asleep.

"We did many demonstrations (and) we have more than 60 persons in prison now… in Niger is the situation is quiet, it is because there is terror," Mohammed said.

He said the international community has not done enough.

"I think they consider this terror is better for democracy and this stability... but this is a big mistake; there is no stability under terror and people will resist," he said.

Mohammed said the international community seems to only act after a tragedy.

"(Nigeriens) will fight and one day they will have people who will die and that day, all they (international community) will say is they are concerned and that day it will be too late for them…if they have to do something for Nigeriens, they have to do it today before it will be late," Mohammed said.

He denied a recent meeting of opposition abroad was aimed to destabilize the country.

"Mr. Tandja is the first person who has destabilized our country because he used his strength to stay in power after the term of his mandate…this people you called has a meeting everywhere; it is their right and it will be only for promoting dialogue and stability of the country," he said.

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Niger's opposition has often accused President Tandja of subverting the constitution, and extending his term limits for three more years. But Tandja claimed Nigeriens want him to stay to continue his "good" works.

Political observers, however say the ruling party will fill parliament with partisans if the opposition fails to participate in the October 20 parliamentary vote.

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