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Cablegate: Niger: New National Assembly Installed

VZCZCXRO9311
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0899/01 3201536
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161536Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5459
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NIAMEY 000899

DEPT FOR AF/W AND AF/RSA; PLS PASS TO USAID FOR AFR/W
ACCRA ALSO FOR USAID/WA
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM SOCI PHUM NG
SUBJECT: NIGER: NEW NATIONAL ASSEMBLY INSTALLED

Ref: a) Niamey 00834, b) Niamey 00830

NIAMEY 00000899 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary: On November 10, the Constitutional Court validated the
legislative elections held on October 20. On November 14, the
President of Niger convoked a special session for the installation
of the new National Assembly. While all government bodies and
political parties supporting the Sixth Republic attended the
ceremony, the opposition boycotted; considering it as a non-event.
Several Ambassadors accredited to Niger declined an invitation from
the Government of Niger(GON) to attend the installation. End
summary.


Constitutional Court Validates Results
--------------------------------------

2. On November 10, the Constitutional Court rejected all (except
one) claims for redress lodged by some political parties and
independent candidates, and validated the results of the October 20
legislative elections announced by the Independent National
Electoral Commission - CENI (Ref A). The court annulled results for
Tassara, Tahoua special constituency. The CENI will organize a
by-election in Tassara on December 27, as set by a presidential
decree on November 11.


Installation Ceremony for New National Assembly members
--------------------------------------------- ----------

3. On November 11, President Tandja signed a decree for the opening
of a special session and official ceremony to install 112 members of
the new National Assembly. (Note: A by-election in Tassara, as
noted above, will be held to fill that slot in the National
Assembly. End note.) The event gathered the GON cabinet, other
state agencies, traditional chiefs, as well as political parties and
civil society organizations that support President Tandja's
continuation agenda. Several accredited Ambassadors did not attend
the ceremony (i.e., United States, France, Nigeria, Germany,
European Commission); Cuba, Libya and China did send representation
as well as some international organizations.

CENI President Opens Ceremony
-----------------------------

4. CENI President, Moumouni Hamidou, in his keynote address
expressed satisfaction with the "serenity, calm, discipline, and
transparency" of the electoral process, and opined that the voter
turnout for both the August 4 referendum and the October 20
legislative election had "never been equaled since the advent of the
democratic era." According to Hamidou, the people of Niger had
chosen "a Republic that is much healthier, stronger, more stable,
and resolutely headed toward progress and prosperity." He called to
the new National Assembly members' attention the duties conferred
upon them and asked them to "lawfully represent the people and
protect the nation's highest interests."


Composition of New National Assembly
------------------------------------

5. The new National Assembly comprises of eighteen former deputies,
eleven women, and over thirty cadres. At the opening of the
session, new legislators selected a panel of three deputies made up
of the eldest assembly representative (Sanoussi T. Jackou, chairman)
and the two youngest deputies (Mohamed Sanousi Samro and Idrissa
Elhadji Cheffou, secretaries) to lead the Assembly's preliminary
discussions. Following that, a committee of nine deputies was
selected to draft the by-laws of the new National Assembly. The
committee made up of Sanoussi T. Jackou, Mohamed Ben Omar, Hamani
Harouna, Issoufou A. Oubandawaki, Amadou Djibo, Abdouramane Hama,
Mrs. Korone Hapsatou Djibrilla, Abdoulraouf Sidi, and Siddo Elhadji,
will submit the draft by-laws to the Constitutional Court for
validation within five days. After the court approves the by-laws,
the National Assembly will convene to elect its speaker, other
members of the executive board, as well as commissions and caucuses,
before the legislature launches its work.

6. According to the Electoral code, political parties and
independent candidates must submit their candidacy documents to
Ministry of Interior. The latter transmits the documents to the
Constitutional Court for validation. The Electoral Code further
stipulates that the Constitutional Court validates and proclaims the
final results. However, on November 10, it was the Minister of
Interior, not the Constitutional Court, who announced the court's
ruling and the list of elected candidates on public radio and

NIAMEY 00000899 002.2 OF 002


television. Some observers criticized this as interference of the
Executive in Judiciary matters.

7. The new National Assembly's legitimacy remains in question.
ECOWAS suspended Niger and stated it would not recognize the
parliament derived from the disputed October 20 legislatives. The
African Parliamentarian Union also stated that it would not host any
members of the current Nigerien National Assembly.
ALLEN

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