Niger opposition calls for poll boycott
Niger’s umbrella political opposition group has renewed a call to boycott this month's parliamentary election, because it says President Mamadou Tandja intends to rig it and ensure his allies fill the national assembly. The prez has already been rapped over the knuckles for changing the country’s constitution to extend his term of office and rule by fiat. Tandja wants the electorate to give his government the power to pursue large-scale uranium mining projects, the country’s economic mainstay. But the voters reckon this is undercutting democracy, despite mining and energy investors spending billions of dollars. Like all good dictators, the president dissolved the national assembly in May, which was the only institution able to stop him from changing the constitution.