Mamadou Tandja was elected Niger's president in 1999 and 2004 [AFP]


August 1960:
Niger gains full independence from France. A single-party civilian govermnent under the presidency of Hamani Diori runs the West African country.

April 1974: Lieutenant Colonel Seyni Kountche leads a military coup ending Diori's 14-year rule.

November 1987: Ali Seybou, the armed forces chief of staff, succeeds Kountche after he dies of a brain tumour.

February 1990: Seybou legalises opposition parties following a wave of strikes and demonstrations.

July 1991: The National Conference of Niger, a body set up to draw up a constitution for the country, strips Seybou of his powers and sets up a transitional government under Andre Salifou. Multi-party elections are announced.

April 1993: The supreme court declares Mahamane Ousmane Niger's first democratically-elected president after he beats Mamadou Tandja, of the former ruling National Movement for a Society of Development (MNSD), the only party allowed prior to 1990, in elections.

Hamani Diori, Niger's first president, was ousted in a coup in 1974 [Gallo/Getty]
January 1996: - Army officers stage a coup, saying political deadlock had threatened economic reforms, incurring the anger of former colonial power France.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, the armed forces chief of staff, becomes the country's leader, saying that the aim of the coup was to allow a fresh start and not to end multi-party democracy.

April 1999: - Mainassara is killed by dissident soldiers at Niamey airport.

Daouda Malam Wanke, the commander of the presidential guard, takes power before announcing that there will be an elected president and a return to civilian rule by 2000.

November 1999: Tandja wins Niger's presidential election, defeating Mahamadou Issoufou, a former prime minister.

August 2002: Soldiers mutiny in the east and in the capital, demanding the payment of wage arrears and better conditions. The rebellion is put down.

December 2004: Tandja wins a second five-year term as president winning 65.5 per cent in a run-off vote.

July 2005: The opposition Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) sharply criticises Tandja over his handling of a growing hunger crisis affecting 3.6 million people.

August 2007: Tandja declares a state of alert in the country's desert north, giving the security forces additional powers in their fight against Tuareg-led rebels, who were rebelling against Niamey's control, creating increased instability in the region.

2009

April 6: The government and main Tuareg rebel groups agree at Libyan-sponsored talks to make peace in the country's uranium-mining north.

Tandja was heavily criticised over his handling of Niger's 2005 food crisis [EPA]
June 29: Tandja dissolves the constitutional court, hours after he appoints eight new ministers from parties that back his plan for a referendum on extending his stay in office.

August 7: Niger passes the constitutional reformwith 90 per cent of the vote in a referendum dismissed by the opposition as fraudulent.

The vote allows Tandja to rule for three more years.

August 18: The government steps down to allow Tandja to pick a new team, his first act under the constitutional change broadening his powers.

October 20: West Africa's regional bloc ECOWAS suspends Niger in protest against what it said was a flawed parliamentary election.

Tandja's ruling party wins 76 out of 113 seats in the election boycotted by the opposition.

December 23: The United States freezes most of its aid to Niger, about $30 million annually, and imposes travel bans on some officials in response to Tandja's refusal to relinquish his mandate.

2010

February 18: A group of military leaders calling themselves the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy(CSDR), captures Tandja and his ministers after a gunbattle. The constitution is suspended and all state bodies dissolved.

Source: Agencies