West African bloc suspends Niger over election

By Incorrect Author 21 October 2009

It had to happen. Fresh from slapping an arms embargo on troubled Guinea, where troops killed up to 200 people in street demonstrations last month, West Africa's trade bloc Ecowas has suspended Niger after its president, Mamadou Tandja, went ahead with a parliamentary election that he hopes will see his rule extended. Guinea coup leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, in trying to do a similar thing, brought 50,000 people on to the streets in protest. Ecowas doesn’t want to see a repeat of that in Niger, and wants Tandja to postpone the vote indefinitely to allow talks with opposition parties, who boycotted the election. He had earlier dissolved parliament and changed the constitution to allow him to seek a third term. Turnout for the Niger election was slow. Tandja wants to oversee multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects in the uranium-exporting country.