- Niger’s trade unions have said the push for a referendum by President Mamadou Tandja to change the Nigerien Constitution is fueling democratic instability in the west African State.
The Constitutional Court's rejection on 25 May for a referendum to allow President Tandja to seek a third term in government has seen the government and opposition parties at each other throats as the President is stubbornly pushing forwards the referendum.
A statement from the International Trade Union Confederation has called on President Tandja to immediately restore constitutional order, to respect the rulings of the Constitutional Court and to abandon the plans to hold a referendum.
"Full respect for trade union rights is an absolute necessity in this country, as in the whole of Africa," said General Secretary of the ITUC, Guy Ryder in a statement.
Last Thursday, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon also said the recent heightened political tension in Niger is a cause for concern following President Mamadou Tandja decision to dissolved Niger’s Parliament on 26 May.
Niger’s opposition parties have been angered by President Tandja's decision to dissolve the parliament hours after the constitutional court rejected his plan to hold a referendum on extending his term in office.
President Tandja's second term is set to expire this year, but the government has been lobbying for constitutional changes to allow him to contest the November election.
The constitution bans him from standing again in the elections scheduled for December 2009, but he has said he would willingly stay in power if the people want to give him another term.
According to the constitution, a new parliament will now have to be elected within three months, but there was no immediate presidential announcement on a new election date.
The 70 years old leader was first elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2004.
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