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Political Figure Pleads for International Funding for Niger Vote

  • 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 prominent member of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya), has called on the international community to help fund the presidential election scheduled for 3rd January 2011.

Bazoum Mohammed said the military junta is incapable of providing all the funds needed for the election, which he said could seriously delay Niger’s much anticipated transition to constitutional rule.

“We have to look for 27 billion francs with our external partners. I think that it is a big challenge and we will have to call to our partners to find this fund. Otherwise, we will have a delay and we don’t politically need it (the delay),” he said.

Niger’s Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) said it needs 30 billion francs ($57,333,026) to organize next year’s election.

But, the military junta said it can only provide 3 billion francs ($ 5,733,302) out of the 30 billion needed for the vote.

The electoral commission announced Sunday that the country’s presidential and legislative elections will be held on 3rd January next year.

The electoral body also said the run-off will be held on 14th January if none of the presidential aspirants wins over 50 percent of the total vote cast.

Mohammed said there is a need for the international community to help fund next year’s vote.

“We have to call our partners, the European Union, UNDP (U.N. Development Program), U.S.A (United States) and even some other countries like Japan, and ECOWAS, (Economic Community of West African States) (and) African Union. Everybody has to be mobilized to help this fund because we have to go out of this military rule and this transition,” Mohammed said.

Officials of Niger’s electoral commission were sworn in last month tasked with organizing the 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.

The swearing in of the new president will effectively end the rule of the military government that overthrew former President Mamadou Tandja. Mr. Tandja came under international criticism after he changed the constitution that removed term limits.

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 and security forces.