Niger rally against president

Thousands protest at Mamadou Tandja's attempt to hold vote on extending term limits.

    Tandja is due to step down later this year and
    wants to run for another three years [EPA]

    Djermakoye was preparing to speak to the crowd in intense heat when he was taken ill, one of his aides said.

    The former minister, who had been known to have been suffering from a heart condition, later died in hospital.

    Court ruling

    A constitutional court in the West African nation had already ruled on Friday that a decree by Tandja calling for the referendum was illegal.

    "The court's decision is a victory but we should not lower our guard," Mahamadou Issoufou, head of the opposition Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), which has been leading the campaign against the referendum, said in a speech to the protesters on Sunday.

    "With the court ruling, any order given to go ahead with the referendum will be illegal. President Tandja must submit to this," he said, speaking before Djermakoye's death was announced.

    Tandja has said that he needs an extra term in order to implement a fully-presidential system of government and to see though large infrastructure projects.

    The US government said that a referendum would be a set back to democracy.

    The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) said that they could impose economic sanctions if Niger acts in an undemocratic way.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.