- Nigerien government has lashed ouut on the West African economic bloc, ECOWAS, after the group suspended its membership for defiantly holding the highly controversial elections.
ECOWAS suspended Niger yesterday after President Mamadou Tandja refused to postpone the legislative elections despite a call by the bloc to delay elections and resolve the country’s outstanding political issues.
The election came almost five months after President Mamadou Tandja dissolved parliament just a day after the Constitutional Court rejected a call for a referendum on 25 May to allow him to seek a third term when his mandate expires on 22 December.
Local media reported Niger's Foreign Minister Aichatou Mindaoudou saying ECOWAS misunderstood the political situation the country, pledging to engage the bloc in a dialogue to reconsider its position. "This decision will not affect the economy or trade between our countries," she said.
The ECOWAS political director, Abdel Fatau Musa, has warned that Niger could face international isolation if Mr Tandja does not backed down on his decision .
He said ECOWAS was communicating with the African Union to put the Niger file also on the agenda of the African Union Peace and Security Council, warning that the issue could end up in the UN Security Council.
The full Tuesday election results are expected within three to five days. Officials said on Wednesday results declared in the first three of the total 113 seats in the assembly all showed wins for members of Mr Tandja's ruling party.
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