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Cablegate: Niger: Ruling Party Gains Majority in National Assembly

VZCZCXRO0418
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0834 2991714
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261714Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5403
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1683
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000834

DEPT FOR AF/W AND AF/RSA; PLS PASS TO USAID FOR AFR/W
ACCRA ALSO FOR USAID/WA
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU - J MAYBURY
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM SOCI PHUM NG
SUBJECT: Niger: Ruling Party Gains Majority in National Assembly
Elections

Ref: Niamey 00830

1. On October 24, the President of the Independent National
Electoral Commission (CENI), Moumouni Hamidou, announced the final
results from the October 20 National Assembly elections. The ruling
party, the National Movement for a Society of Development (MNSD),
won 76 out of the 113 parliamentary seats. Hamidou added that 51.27
per cent of the 6 million registered voters participated in the
elections. The Constitutional Court has 15 days to review and
validate the results.

2. Five parties aligned with MNSD won 25 seats, while 11 seats went
to independent candidates. The Party Nigerien pour l'Autogestion
(PNA), one of three opposition parties participating in the
election, won one seat. This majority in parliament gives President
Tandja and the MNSD resounding control of the legislature.

3. While the MNSD expressed satisfaction with the landslide win,
smaller parties and independent candidates complained about election
irregularities. The Social Democratic Rally (RSD) lodged a
complaint with the Constitutional Court to seek redress regarding
contested seats it claimed to have won in various constituencies,
especially in Maradi. Opposition parties under the Coordination of
Forces for Democracy and the Republic (CFDR), boycotted the
election,claimed a poor voter turnout and downplayed the results.
The opposition labeled the elections a "shameful" non-event, and
alleged a gross inflation of election figures.

4. Observers to the parliamentary election, included:

-- Mission d'Observation Electorale de la Diaspora Africaine;

-- Coordination de la Mission Electorale de la Societe Civile
Africaine (COMOES-CA);

-- Plan International pour la Democratie et la Paix en Afrique
(PIDPA);

-- Coordination des Observateurs Internationaux Africains; and

-- Observatoire Independant d'Ethique et d'Education Electorale pour
la Paix et le Developpement (OIEEPD-Ingantchi) - Niger.

5. On October 22, COMOES-CA said the elections were "free,
transparent, credible, and democratic." PIDPA welcomed the
administration of the election, while the Coordination des
Observateurs Internationaux Africains praised the "regularity and
transparence of the vote."

6. Comment: Although there was no doubt the MNSD would win most
National Assembly seats, due to a widespread opposition boycott, the
CENI-claimed turnout of over 52 percent seems artificially high. To
the Embassy's knowledge, none of the observer groups have monitored
any prior election in Niger. Reportedly, the GON invited some
groups to monitor the polls. End comment.

ALLEN

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