NIGER
Also: Nijar.
Officially: République du Niger.
Seat of government: Niamey.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly. The parliament (Assemblée Nationale) is elected by party-list proportional representation in geographical constituencies, with a small number of seats elected by minorities.
Governing party: Parti Nigérien pour la Democratie et le Socialisme – Tarayya.
Heads of government: Issoufou Mahamadou, PNDS-T, president; Brigi Rafini, PNDS-T, prime minister.
Chief opposition parties: Mouvement National pour la Société du Développement – Nassara; Mouvement Démocratique Nigérien pour une Fédération Africaine – Lumana Africa.
Recent history: The unelected government of Hamani Diori and Boubou Hama (1958-74) was overthrown by a military faction, which ruled under Seyni Kountché (1974-87) and Ali Saïbo (1987-93). Mahamane Ousmane was elected democratically in 1993; he was overthrown by Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara in 1996, who ruled until his own overthrow and assassination in 1999. A second transition to democracy followed, with the election of president Tandja Mamadou (1999-2010), who was involved in the 1974 coup and lost in the 1993 runoff with Ousmane. Tandja defeated Issoufou (PM, 1993-4) in a runoff in 1999, and again in 2004. As Tandja’s second and last term drew to an end, he instituted a policy of tazarce, insisting that the populace demanded his retention of the presidency. In 2009, the constitutional court blocked Tandja’s attempt to revise the constitution for a third term, prompting him to dissolve the parliament and the constitutional court, and assume the power to rule by decree. In early 2010, he was arrested by a military faction, the Conseil Suprême pour la Restauration de la Démocratie, which took control. The coup was led by Abdoulaye Adamou Harouna, also involved in the coup against Maïnassara. Salou Djibo, a commander of important military resources, became head of the new régime, with Mahamadou Danda as prime minister. The régime held elections in early 2011. The presidential election was won by Issoufou, defeating Seyni Oumarou of MNSD-N in the second round; the PNDS-T won a plurality in concurrent parliamentary elections.
FH: 3-4, partly free (democratic). Econ: 4.16 (111), hybrid.
Updated: 2010 March 2.
 

O.T. FORD