ECOWAS Suspends Niger Following Legislative Polls

Oct. 20, 2009, midnight

In response to boycotted legislative elections held October 20, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) followed through Tuesday on a threat to suspend Niger's membership. Niger will not be permitted to convene meetings or nominate candidates to offices in the regional organization. ECOWAS refuses to recognize the result of the election because, it argues, President Mamadou TANDJA illegally dismissed Niger's duly elected legislature last summer. Both the National Assembly and constitutional court separately tried to block a referendum on, among other provisions, abolishing term limits and extending TANDJA'S term by three years. TANDJA, who was due to step down in December, says he needs more time to work on trade and internal peace issues.

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