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Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 31 January 2011
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all seats in the National Assembly. A 2010 coup had led to the dissolution of the previous Assembly.
The January 2011 elections were the first to be held since a February 2010 military coup, ousted the then President Mamadou Tandja. They were held in parallel with the presidential polls.

The previous elections held in October 2009 followed months of political turmoil over a proposal to remove the two-term presidential limit from the constitution. President Tandja had been serving his second five-year term, which was due to end in December 2009.

In May 2009, President Tandja announced that a referendum on a new Constitution would be held before the end of the year. Several parties in the National Assembly, including the Democratic Social Convention (CDS, led by former President Mahamane Ousmane) opposed the proposed referendum. On 25 May, the Constitutional Court ruled that any referendum aimed at lifting the two-term presidential limit would be unconstitutional. The following day, President Tandja issued a decree dissolving the National Assembly without specifying any reason and announced that he would be ruling the country by decree. On 5 June, the Council of Ministers set the referendum date for 4 August.

In June, the Constitutional Court annulled the planned referendum. The President subsequently dissolved the Constitutional Court and appointed a new one. In July, President Tandja called another referendum for 4 August, which this time did take place. According to the official results, the new Constitution was approved by 92.5 per cent.

The Constitution of the Sixth Republic came into effect on 18 August 2009. It most notably lifted the two-term presidential limit. Although the presidential term remained five years, the term of President Tandja was extended until the next presidential elections, due to be held in December 2012. The Constitution provided for a bicameral Parliament composed of a National Assembly and a Senate. Elections for the National Assembly were called for 20 October. The composition of the Senate would be decided by the newly-elected National Assembly.

The Coordination of Democratic Forces for the Republic (CFDR), a coalition of opposition parties including the Niger Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya), and the National Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ANDP), called for a boycott of the elections in protest against the President's dissolution of the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court. The CDS joined the boycott.

In September, PNDS leader Elhadj Mahamadou Issoufou was arrested on charges of financial crimes and released on bail. He claimed that the charges were politically motivated and left the country. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) urged President Tandja to postpone the elections indefinitely and favour dialogue with the opposition. The President, nevertheless, decided to maintain the election date of 20 October.

The results of the elections gave 76 of the 113 seats to the National Movement for the Development of Society (MNSD-Nassara) led by the then Prime Minister Seyni Oumarou. Its allies - the Social Democratic Rally (RSD) and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) - took 15 and seven seats respectively. Four small parties took one seat each. Ten independent candidates were elected. Mr. Oumarou (MNSD) was elected as new Speaker on 24 November.

In the meantime, on 29 October, the government issued international arrest warrants for PNDS leader Issoufou, former prime minister Hama Amadou (a former member of the MNSD) and former president Ousmane (CDS). Following talks with officials of the European Union (EU), in early December, Prime Minister Ali Badjo Gamatié announced that the warrants would be suspended. However, on 24 December, he reported that they would be reactivated, plunging the country into an even deeper political crisis.

ECOWAS - which had stated that it would no longer recognize the authority of President Tandja beyond 22 December 2009, when his original term would have ended - criticized the move. It nevertheless continued mediation efforts led by Mr. Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Nigerian president. In January 2010, he presented a nine-point roadmap that proposed that President Tandja remain in place during a transition period to be led by a government of national reconciliation. President Tandja insisted that his term continue until December 2012. ECOWAS' mediation talks with President Tandja and the CFDR had reportedly reached a stalemate by February. On 4 February, anti-government demonstrations involving over 10,000 people took place in the capital, Niamey.

On 18 February 2010, soldiers calling themselves the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSDR) staged a coup and detained President Tandja. He was charged with corruption and placed under house arrest. CSDR leader Salou Djibo promised to fight corruption and turn the nation into "an example of democracy and good governance". The CSDR suspended the Constitution and dissolved all State institutions, including the National Assembly. It later announced that it would assume legislative and executive powers until new democratic institutions were established.

On 30 March, the CSDR issued a decree establishing a National Consultative Council (CCN), which was tasked with advising on draft fundamental laws, including the Constitution, the electoral law, the Charter on political parties, and the status of the opposition. On 6 April, the CSDR appointed Mr. Marou Amadou - former President of the United Front for the Safeguard of Democracy (FUSAD, which had firmly opposed Mr. Tandja's constitutional reform plans in 2009) as the President of the CCN. The CCN, comprising 131 representatives of country's different political forces, was officially installed on 7 April. On the same day, two other institutions were established: the Drafting Committee for fundamental laws and a new 11-member Transitional Constitutional Council (CCT), presided by Ms. Fatoumata Bazèye, the former Constitutional Court President who had been dismissed by Mr. Tandja.

On 22 May, the CCN adopted a draft electoral law, which was promulgated by the CSDR on 27 May. It notably sets a two-term limit for the presidency.

On 14 June, an independent election commission (CENI) was established. On 4 July, it announced that parliamentary and presidential elections would be held concurrently on 3 January 2011 with a possible run-off on 14 January. These dates were later put back to 31 January and 12 March respectively due to internal organisation and financial problems.

On 23 July, the CCN started to disseminate the draft fundamental laws of the 7th Republic, including through its website. The draft constitution provided for a unicameral parliament: the National Assembly, and set the presidential term at five years, renewable once only. It specified that the article on the presidential term can not be reviewed or amended in the future.

Opponents of the draft argued that less executive power would make it difficult to rule Niger in light of its high poverty levels and chronic famine. Supporters insisted that approval was necessary to maintain the timeline for presidential and parliamentary elections in January 2011 and a complete handover of power by the military junta in April. On 31 October, the new constitution was approved by 90 percent of voters in a referendum, in which 52.65 per cent of the 6.7 million registered voters took part. The CSDR promulgated the new Constitution on 30 November, paving the way for the 2011 elections.

The 2010 Constitution provides that a fundamental law shall set the statutory number of members of the National Assembly (see note). Pending the adoption of such a law, it was decided, as a transitional measure, that 113 members would be elected in 2011.

In the meantime, on 29 July, the police arrested former Speaker Oumarou. On 2 August, he and three other former senior officials were charged with embezzling public funds and subsequently released on bail.

In September, the CSDR established a commission to investigate economic and financial crimes committed during Mr. Tandja's rule. The commission's report implicated Mr. Tandja and over 2,000 other people in alleged fraud.

In November, the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) declared Mr. Tandja's arrest and detention arbitrary, and ordered his immediate release. The CFDR coalition and its allies rejected the ruling and demanded that Mr. Tandja be charged with high treason. In December, the CSDR lifted Mr. Tandja's presidential immunity. He was subsequently charged with misappropriation of State funds amounting to nearly US $125 million. On 16 January 2011, Mr. Tandja, who had been under house arrest, was transferred to a prison near Niamey. On the same day, official campaigning for the parliamentary and presidential elections started.

A number of lists for the parliamentary elections were rejected due to organizational problems and new candidate requirements. At least 75 per cent of candidates on each list now have to be in possession of a high school certificate. In the end, the CCT approved only 74 of the 141 lists submitted for the parliamentary elections. 10 candidates were contesting the presidential elections. Several parties called in vain for the polls to be postponed. On 24 January, the CSDR convened a meeting of the major political parties and subsequently announced that both elections would take place as scheduled.

The major presidential candidates included former prime minister Issoufou (PNDS), former Speaker Oumarou (MNSD), former prime minister Amadou and former president Ousmane (CDS). Mr. Issoufou had contested all presidential elections under Mr. Tandja's rule. Mr. Amadou, a former member of the MNSD, had been sentenced to prison for corruption in 2008 but was released in April 2009 on health grounds. He was living in self-imposed exile in France but returned to Niger in 2010 to form the Niger Democratic Movement for an African Federation (MDN, known as "Moden Fa Lumana"). Mr. Ousmane had also left the country in 2009 and returned after the 2010 coup. The 2011 elections saw the country's first female presidential candidate, Ms. Bayard Mariama Gamatié, who ran as an independent.

The CSDR did not field any candidates but urged voters to turn out en masse for "a new start for Niger".

Mr. Issoufou's PNDS conducted its election campaign under the slogan "With time comes hope". The MDN promised to introduce genetically modified food to meet the needs of a population on the verge of starvation. It also promised to contract Indian pharmaceutical companies to provide generic medicines.

Shortly before polling day, on 25 January, six presidential candidates, including Mr. Oumarou (MNSD), Mr. Amadou (MDN) and Mr. Ousmane (CDS), announced that they would unite under the banner of the National Reconciliation Alliance. The Alliance members agreed to cooperate in the second round of the presidential elections. The pact was widely believed to be intended to deny Mr. Issoufou victory.

On 31 January, 49.22 per cent of the 6.7 million registered voters turned out at the polls. Polling took place without any major incident.

The EU and the ECOWAS monitored the polls. The EU stated that the elections had been "transparent and generally well conducted", a view shared by the ECOWAS.

On 4 February, the CENI announced the results of the first round of the elections. The PNDS came in first with 39 seats, followed by the MNSD and the MDN, which took 26 and 24 seats respectively. The ANDP, the RDP and the Union for Democracy and the Republic (UDR, formed by former members of the RDP) won eight, seven and six seats respectively. The remaining three seats went to two small parties.

No candidate secured the required majority in the presidential polls. Mr. Issoufou (PNDS) obtained 36.06 per cent of the votes while Mr. Oumarou (MNSD) took 23.24 per cent. On 9 February, Mr. Amadou, who came third, announced that the MDN would support Mr. Issoufou in the run-off elections.

Run-off elections took place on 12 March without major incidents. Mr. Issoufou (PNDS) won the run-off, securing 58.04 per cent of the votes. The new President was sworn in on 8 April and convened the newly elected National Assembly.

On 19 April, the National Assembly elected former prime minister Hama Amadou (MDN) as its new Speaker.

Article 84 provides: "A fundamental law shall stipulate the number of members of the National Assembly, the allowances of the members of parliament and their privileges, conditions of eligibility and incompatibilities, voting methods and the conditions required for the organization of fresh elections in cases where the seat of a member of parliament is vacated."
Voter turnout
Round no 131 January 2011
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
3'317'935 (49.22%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Niger Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) 1'066'011 33.00
National Movement for the Development Society (MNSD) 664'525 20.57
Niger Democratic Movement for an African Federation (Moden Fa Lumana, MDN) 637'108 19.72
National Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ANDP) 242'770 7.51
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) 209'622 6.49
Union for Democracy and the Republic (UDR) 175'876 5.44
Democratic Social Convention (CDS) 105'828 3.28
Union of Independent Nigeriens (UNI) 32'018 0.99
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Election on 31 Jan. Election on 15 May
Niger Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) 37 34 3
National Movement for the Development Society (MNSD) 26 25 1
Niger Democratic Movement for an African Federation (Moden Fa Lumana, MDN) 25 23 2
National Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ANDP) 8 8 0
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) 7 7 0
Union for Democracy and the Republic (UDR) 6 6 0
Democratic Social Convention (CDS) 3 3 0
Union of Independent Nigeriens (UNI) 1 1 0
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Note on the distribution of seats:
On 16 March 2011, the Transitional Constitutional Council pronounced its ruling on the parliamentary elections. It invalidated the results of six seats in the Agadez region. Fresh elections were held on 15 May. The distribution of seats above includes the results of the fresh elections. As at 22 July 2011, there were 15 women among the full 113 members.

National Assembly (23.03.2011, 11.04.2011, 22.07.2011)
Arrêt n° 009/11/CCT/ME du 16 mars 2011

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