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Niger Politician Pledges Party Support for Electoral Body

  • Peter Clottey

The head of the junta in Niger, Major Salou Djibo, who took over in a February 18, 2010 coup that toppled President Mamadou Tandja, 24 Feb 2010 (file photo)

A leading member of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya) told VOA his party is ready to work closely with the newly constituted Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to ensure a credible vote in elections scheduled for 26th December.

Bazoum Mohammed said all political parties, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), were widely consulted before the military junta announced the formation of the electoral body.

“It is what the electoral law provides and the National Electoral Commission has been formed and we are ready to work with this commission. It has been organized on the law basis, and we are very happy today to see this commission set up,” he said.

A group of constitutional experts recently drafted the electoral code which was then passed by the National Consultative Council.

The electoral code stipulates that members of the electoral body are named by a presidential decree after being selected or designated by Niger’s public institutions.

Mohammed said the electoral body will soon announce plans for the presidential vote.

“I think that this commission will be able to give us these dates in two weeks, or before two weeks. It is possible for them to give us all the dates of the elections; the presidential election, the parliamentary election, and even, I think, the local election,” Mohammed said.

Members of the electoral body were sworn in Monday by Prime Minister Mahamadou Danda in the capital, Niamey. The commission has been mandated to organize the next elections and to ensure the winner of the presidential vote will be sworn in by 1st March 2011 as stipulated in recommendations by the National Consultative Council.

Niger’s military junta set up the National Consultative Council to help the country’s transition to constitutional rule. Led by opposition leader Marou Amadou, the Consultative Council has 131 members drawn from political parties, trade unions, civil society groups, defense and security forces.

Party leader Mohammed said there is need for the other political parties to support the work of the newly constituted electoral body.

“We don’t have any doubt about the transparency of this election because the commission has been set up on a consensus basis. All the political parties decided to appoint the president of this commission, the vice president. And, the civil society organizations elected some other members. And, there is in this commission representatives from parties,” Mohammed said.

He also said that Niger has often held credible elections devoid of voter irregularities.