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Niger’s Election to Return to Civilian Rule Delayed to 31st January

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 top official of Niger’s biggest political party, the Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya), said several political parties have welcomed the electoral commission’s decision to postpone the originally scheduled 3rd January presidential vote at least one month.

Sani Iro, communications director of PNDS-Tarayya said the postponement will allow the electoral body to adequately prepare to ensure a free, fair and credible election

“In fact, this postponement is due to (the) schedule because the (electoral) commission realized that the constitutional court needs two months to verify and proclaim the results of the elections. In our view, this has no harm and it’s something normal that we can concede and accept,” he said.

Niger’s electoral commission announced Tuesday that the presidential vote will now be held on 31st January.

Niger's National Transitional Council had earlier announced 26th December as the date for the first round and 24th January for the second round, including municipal elections.

Deposed President Mamadou Tandja
Deposed President Mamadou Tandja

Analysts say the election will restore Niger’s democracy after the military junta overthrew longtime President Mamadou Tandja in a coup d’état on 18th February.

Iro said some Nigeriens have expressed concerns over the postponement of the presidential vote.

“There are some Nigeriens who do not understand (the postponement, and) think that it is a kind of trick by the government to stay maybe one more month,” Iro said.

Meanwhile, officials of the electoral commission were sworn in in June. The officials were told to prepare for the elections and ensure that by 1st March, the country's new democratic president is sworn in as recommended by the Transitional Council.