Category Archives: Niger


Niger – Parliamentary by elections

In Niger by elections were held for six parliamentary seats in the Agadez region that remained unfilled following the election earlier this year.

Media Niger is reporting that PNDS-Tarayya won 3 seats, Moden FA Lumana two, and MNSD-Nassara 1 seat.

Overall, the governing coalition now has the support of a total of 83 deputies, 37 from the PNDS-Tarayya, 25 from the Moden FA Lumana, 13 from the group comprising the UDR-Tabatt (seats) and the RDP-Jama’a (7 seats) and 8 deputies from the ANDP-Zaman Lahiya. The opposition MNSD-Nassara party has formed a parliamentary group with the CDS-Rahama party and the sole UNI deputy. This group has the support of the remaining 30 deputies.

Niger – Government

The party composition of the new government in Niger has been announced. The report is here. The distribution of seats is as follows:

Parti Nigérien pour la Démocratie et le Socialisme (PNDS-Tarayya), nine ministers, including the new PM
Mouvement Démocratique Moden – Lumana Africa), five ministers
Alliance pour la Démocratie et le Progrès, two ministers
UDR-Tabbat, one minister
RSD-Gaskiya, one minister
Parti Progressiste nigérien section du Rassemblement démocratique africain (PPN-RDA), one minister
RDPJama’a, one minister
CDS-Rahama, one minister
There are two civil society ministers.

From the African Elections website, the parliamentary support for the above parties is as follows:

Parti Nigérien pour la Démocratie et le Socialisme (PNDS-Tarayya), 34 seats
Mouvement Démocratique Moden – Lumana Africa), 23 seats
Alliance pour la Démocratie et le Progrès, 8 seats
RDPJama’a, 7 seats
CDS-Rahama, 3 seats
UDR-Tabbat, 6 seats
RSD-Gaskiya, 0 seats
Parti Progressiste nigérien section du Rassemblement démocratique africain (PPN-RDA), 0 seats

If we apply Octavio Amorim Neto’s formula for cabinet coalescence (found in this paper), then we get a figure of 0.87. In other words, there is a good match between the governing parties’ representation in the legislature and their representation in the cabinet. This would be typical of premier-presidential regimes, like the new Nigerian system.

The two parties excluded from the cabinet are the MNSD-Nassara with 25 seats and the UNI with only one seat. So, even though the cabinet representation neatly matches parliamentary representation, in effect any displeasure with the government may provoke voters to support the main opposition party of former President Tandja Mamadou, who was ousted in the (benign) coup last year.

Niger – New PM

The recently elected president of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, has appointed his prime minister. The new PM is Birgi Rafini. He is a Touareg and a member of President Issoufou’s PNDS Tarayya party.

President Issoufou’s presidential investiture speech was held on Friday and is available in French here.

Niger – Presidential election 2nd round

The second round of the presidential election in Niger was held on 12 March. Here is the result.

Mahamadou Issoufou (Parti nigérien pour la démocratie et le socialisme – PNDS-Tarayya) 57.95%
Seïni Oumarou (Mouvement national pour la société de développement – MNSD-Nassara) 42.05%

This is a good result for Niger in the sense that the election seems to have been fair, that Issofou won a decisive victory, and that the candidate of the ousted autocrat, Tandja Mamadou, was defeated. Had he won, then there would probably have been a regime crisis.

The construction of the new government is the next task and this will not be easy, given the strength of the different parties in the legislature.

Niger – Presidential and legislative elections (update)

Presidential and legislative elections were held in Niger on 31 January. The official results are as follows. The turnout was 51.56%.

The second round will be contested between the following candidates:

Mahamadou Issoufou (Parti nigérien pour la démocratie et le socialisme – PNDS-Tarayya), 36.16%
Seïni Oumarou (Mouvement national pour la société de développement – MNSD-Nassara), 23.22%
The MNSD-Nassara is the party of ousted autocrat Tandja Mamadou.

The other results were:

Hama Amadou (Mouvement démocratique nigérien pour une fédération africaine – MODEN/FA Lumana), 19.81%
Mahamane Ousmane (Convention démocratique et sociale – CDS-Rahama), 8.32%
Cheiffou Amadou (Rassemblement démocratique et social – RSD-Gaskiya), 4.08%
Moussa Djermakoye (l’Alliance nigérienne pour la démocratie et le progrès – ANDP-Zaman Lahiya), 3.93%
Issouffou Ousmane Oubandawaki (l’Alliance pour le renouveau démocratique), 1.92%
Amadou Boubacar Cissé (l’Union pour la démocratie et la république), 1.6%
Amadou Traoré (Independent) 0.53%
Bayard Mariama (Independent) 0.38%

My understanding is that Hama Amadou agreed to support Seïni Oumarou in the event that he (Amadou) came third. However, Hama Amadou has since announced that he will support Mahamadou Issoufou. In all likelihood, the result of the second round will be close. This will be a severe test for Niger’s democracy.

The same point can be made following the legislative election, which produced the following seat distribution:

PNDS-Tarayya 39
MNSD-Nassara 26
Moden/FA Lumana 24
ANDP-Zaman Lahiya 8
RDP-Jama’a 7
UDR-Tabbat 6
CDS-Rahama 2
Union des nigériens indépendants 1
Total 113

The result means that any president will have to rely on a coalition. For dispassionate observers, the Niger case may well provide another test as to whether semi-presidentialism facilitates power-sharing or whether it generates competition within the executive. That said, party loyalties are likely to be fluid. So, these figures are liable to change once parliament meets and over the course of the legislature.

Niger – Local elections

Niger seems to be on the road to democracy. The first stage was local elections that were held on 11 January. Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 31 January.

The results of the legislative elections are hard to come by. However, there seem to be some hard figures here.

The largest parties seem to be the following:

Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (Parti Nigerien pour la Democratie et le Socialisme – PNSD). Led by Mahamadou Issoufou, who was PM from 1993-94, the PNDS has often been the second largest party since democratisation in the early 1990s. The PNDS seems to have won the largest number of seats at the local elections.

MODEN/FA Lumana. This is a new party led by Hama Amadou, who was PM from 1995-1996 and from 2000-2007. He was previously a member of the MNSD (below), but was persecuted in the latter years of the regime of ousted president, Mamadou Tandja. He left the MNSD and formed the MODEN/FA Lumana, which appears to have won the second largest number of seats just ahead of the MNSD. There is a report in French here.

National Movement for the Society of Development (Mouvement National pour la Société du Développement – MNSD). This is the former ruling party of the ousted president, Mamadou Tandja.

The fourth party appears to be the Democratic and Social Convention -Rahama (Convention démocratique et sociale-Rahama, CDS-Rahama). This is the party of former president, Mahamane Ousmane, who was ousted in a coup in 1995. The party’s poor showing relative to the three parties above is a surprise.

The fifth and final party is the Social Democratic Rally (Rassemblement social démocratique-Gaskiya – RSD -Gaskiya). This was a party that split from the CDS. It now has only slightly fewer seats than the CDS.

There are other parties too, but these are the five largest.

Basically, there seems to be multi-party competition in Niger. The junta seems to be keeping its promise of allowing free elections. However, the real test will be the elections at the end of this month.

Madagascar and Niger – Formal return to semi-presidentialism

Both Madagascar and Niger have formally returned to semi-presidentialism.

In Madagascar, the official ceremony marking the start of the Fourth Republic was held on 11 December.

The final results of the recent constitutional referendum have now been published. They are:

Registered voters : 7,151,223
Voting : 3,761,977
Turnout: 52.61 %
Spoiled and blank : 179,423
Valid votes cast : 3,582,554
Yes : 2 657,9625 (74.19 %)
No : 924,592 (25.81%)

In Niger the new constitution was officially promulgated on 25 November.

The final result of the recent referendum has also been announced:

Registered voters : 6,720,335
Voting : 3,496,352
Turnout: 52.02 %
Spoiled and blank : 74,202
Valid votes cast : 3,442,150
Yes : 3,086,473 (90.19 %)
No : 335,677 (9.81%)

The following electoral timetable has also been announced:

8 January – municipal and regional
31 January – presidential (1st round), legislative
12 March 2011 – presidential (2nd round)

Niger – Semi-presidential constitution adopted

Niger has voted to return to the semi-presidential fold. On Sunday a referendum was held to approve the country’s new constitutional text, the text of the 7th Republic. The new constitution is semi-presidential. A copy of the text in French is available via the post here.

On Tuesday, the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (Independent National Electoral Commission – CENI) announced that on the basis of a turnout of 52.65% the ‘yes’ vote won 90.18% of the valid votes cast. The final result will be proclaimed by the Constitutional Council, but there is no reason to expect that they will do anything other than validate the result proclaimed by the CENI.

This is the third time that Niger has adopted a semi-presidential constitution. The first was in December 1992. This constitution was suspended by the coup in 1996. A second semi-presidential constitution was adopted in 1999. This one was replaced by the presidential constitution in 2009. Following the coup earlier this year, a third semi-presidential constitution was subsequently drawn up. The text of this constitution was put to a referendum on Sunday.

Technically, the military authority is due to hand back power in April 2011. So, the vote has not restored semi-presidentialism in Niger quite yet. Presidential and legislative elections are slated for 31 January 2011. Given the military leader, Salou Djibo, recently arrested his number two on suspicion of plotting a coup, the situation in Niger is still very unstable. However, the leadership has consistently affirmed that it will not stand at the presidential election and that there will be both a real return to democracy and civilian rule in April next year.

Niger – New draft constitution

In Niger, the process of drafting the new constitution is proceeding apace. There are lots of details in French on the Constitution en Afrique site.

The first draft (see previous post) was prepared by the Comité des Textes Fondamentaux (Committee for the Basic Laws). The most recent version was drawn up by the Conseil consultatif national (National Consultative Committee – CCN). The new draft is available at the Constitution en Afrique site.

The new draft is still semi-presidential. However, there are changes regarding, for example, the president’s term (two five-year terms maximum), more leeway for the president to propose referenda and, interestingly, the deletion of any mention of presidential emergency powers.

The website of the CCN reports that the draft has now been presented to the prime minister of the transition authority. Changes may still be made. The referendum on the final draft is still set for 31 October.

Niger – Draft constitution available

In another in a series of posts on countries that may (or may not) enter or exit semi-presidentialism, the details of the draft constitution in Niger are now publicly available.

The body that is tasked with drawing up of the new constitution, the Conseil consultatif national (National Consultative Committee – CCN), has just set up a website and the draft, in French, of the new constitution is available there.

The proposed constitution is clearly semi-presidential.

The president is directly elected (Art. 45). The PM is head of government (Art. 69). The government is collectively responsible to the National Assembly (Art. 73). The Assembly can table a vote of no-confidence that, if passed by a majority of deputies, results in the government’s automatic dismissal (Arts. 103 and 104). In addition, the president cannot dismiss the PM (Art. 55). So, there would be a premier-presidential form of semi-presidentialism.

Remarkably, there is also explicit reference to cohabitation. To my knowledge, this is the first constitution that has ever made reference to this term and that, therefore, has tried to regulate it. Here is a translation of Arts. 78 and 79:

“On Cohabitation:

Article 78 – When the presidential majority and the parliamentary majority do not match, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic on proposal of the majority in the National Assembly.

Article 79 – The President of the Republic appoints people to State posts on the proposal of the Government.

National defense and foreign affairs fields are shared between the President of the Republic and the Government. In the supreme interest of the nation, the ministers of national defense and foreign affairs are appointed by mutual agreement by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister.”

Usefully, for constitutional completists such as myself anyway, the CCN website also has scanned copies of the decrees that currently constitute the constitutional framework of the country following the coup in February. They can be downloaded.

The country is currently undergoing a period of constitutional reflection. Therefore, it is possible that there may be amendments to the draft constitution. However, my guess is that the fundamental elements that are relevant to this blog will not change. The referendum on the final draft is currently set for 31 October. I would be surprised if the draft constitution were not approved at the referendum. Therefore, Niger is likely to re-enter the semi-presidential fold at that point.