Democratization in Desperate Places: Niger’s Seventh Attempt
January 28, 2011
On October 31, 2010 Niger passed a new constitution in a national referendum; the proposed document gained the support of 90% of all votes cast. This so-called “seventh republic” constitutes the latest attempt to create sustainable democratic institutions. In line with the timetable for the return of democratic rule drawn up by the interim military government, the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, local elections occurred on January 10. Administrative shortcomings led to severe delays and as a consequence uncertainty persists as to whether the Independent National Electoral Commission has the organizational capacity to ensure sound national elections. For the time being, presidential and national assembly elections are scheduled for January 31 with a run-off between the two frontrunners most likely to be held in March. In theory, a new civilian government should be in place by April.
Sebastian Elischer is a research fellow with the Institute of African Affairs at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg, Germany.
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