Press Statement
Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 29, 2009

The United States is concerned about recent announcements that President Tandja plans to hold a national referendum aimed at drafting a new constitution and permitting the extension of his time in office. We believe this risks undercutting Niger’s hard won social, political, and economic gains of the past decade, and would be a set-back for democracy, based on the regular, peaceful transition of political power and faithful adherence to constitutional due-process. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Niger’s Constitutional Court have also registered concerns about this issue.

President Tandja is about to complete two consecutive five-year terms after two successful free and fair elections under Niger’s democratic constitution. During that time, he has been a good steward of Niger’s national interests, attracting international investment and launching ambitious public works against a backdrop of social and political stability.

We have shared our views with President Tandja in the interest of continuing a strong and warm relationship with the Government of Niger and the Nigerien people as they move toward the end of his constitutional term in office.

PRN: 2009/521