Niger opposition anger over new delay to local elections

2016-10-05 20:53

Niamey, Oct 5, 2016 (AFP) -Niger's opposition on Wednesday accused the government of trying to "indefinitely postpone" local elections in the West African country after it delayed them for a fourth time without setting a new date.

Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said the municipal polls, scheduled for January 8, had to be delayed to allow time to set up a biometric voters' register.

Opposition groups, which boycotted the meeting where the new delay was agreed, said in a joint statement that the move was a tactic to "indefinitely postpone the organisation of these elections".

The statement was drafted by the Niger Democratic Movement, a coalition led by former speaker of parliament Hama Amadou.

It also criticised the recent appointment of a purportedly pro-government official, Alkache Alhada, to head the Council of State, which adjudicates local election disputes.

The opposition boycotted the March presidential poll that saw Mahamadou Issoufou returned to office with 92.5 percent of the vote, calling the process a "charade".

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