afrol News, 16 April - Niger's National Advisory Council, which is charged with heading the transition process from the current military rule to "a model democracy", will present a timetable for elections by 26 April, it was announced today.
Since the 18 February coup ousting unpopular President Mamadou Tandja, a military junta headed by Djibo Salou has promised to turn Niger into a model democracy. After meetings with political parties and civil society, a National Advisory Council was established to oversee the transition process.
According to reports in the Nigerien weekly 'Sahel Dimanche', the Council now has speeded up works to outline the transition process. Meeting yesterday in the Niamey parliament, the Council elected trade unionist Yacouba Ibrahim as its spokesman.
The Council agreed to split its 120 members into three standing committees. The first committee is to treat political and institutional affairs and will revise the Nigerien constitution, prepare elections and promote good governance and democracy.
The second committee will treat economic affairs and is to oversee the consolidation of public finances. The last committee on social and cultural affairs is "responsible for the de-politicisation of public administration, reconciliation and national unity."
Meanwhile, at the Paris headquarters of the Francophonie, the visiting spokesman the ruling junta, Colonel Abdoulkarim Goukoye, today talked to the French press about Niger's transition process.
Mr Goukoye told the French news agency 'AFP' that the National Advisory Council had been asked to present a timetable for transition and elections by 26 April to be presented to junta leader Salou. Mr Salou would the review the proposed timetable and announce it before the end of the month.
It is expected that the timetable will include dates for election preparations, local, legislative and presidential elections, a revision of the constitution and other legislation such as the electoral code and press law, and dates for the handing over of powers to a civilian government.
The Niger junta, despite meeting initial protests against the coup, has been received relatively positively by the international community. Its early pledges to democratise Niger without junta members being eligible for the upcoming elections and its early steps to prepare a transition has given the junta goodwill at home and abroad.
However, the continued detention of ex-President Tandja causes regular protest from the African Union (AU). The AU also has pressurised the Niger junta to present a timetable for transition.
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