Niger sets presidential election for January 2011


Niger will hold a presidential election in January 2011, its first since a military coup in February, the west African country’s electoral commission says.

Presidential and legislative elections intended to restore civilian rule in the uranium-exporter will be held on January 3, and a second round of voting for the presidency, if needed, will be on January 14, the commission said late on Saturday. Results will be announced in March.
“The inauguration of the new President will take place on March 11,” commission president Ghousmane Abdourahamane said on national radio. Soldiers ousted President Mamadou Tandja in February this year, after which they promised to restore civilian rule within 12 months. Niger is one of the poorest countries on earth despite having attracted billions of dollars of investment in its uranium and oil industries, mainly from France and China.

Tandja, who had been in power for a decade, caused a political crisis and drew fierce international and domestic criticism last year, when he changed the constitution in an attempt to harden his powers and extend his term in office.