Niger. The military junta that took power in February
2010 kept its promise to quickly return government
responsibility to democratically elected leaders. In
January, local and regional elections were held first and
then parliamentary and presidential elections.
Countryaah official site, the election of a new president was decided in a second
round in March, after neither Social Democrat Mahamadou
Issoufou nor former Prime Minister Seini Oumarou, who stood
close to the ousted President Mamadou Tandja, received an
absolute majority of the votes. The days before the second
round of elections, representatives of the military,
parties, trade unions, voluntary organizations, religious
communities, the media and traditional chieftains gathered
at the junta's initiative and entered into a "Stability
Pact" in which they promised each other respect for the
constitution and foster dialogue and consensus.
In the decisive round, Issoufou won by a good margin over
its competitor Oumarou. As prime minister, he appointed
Brigi Rafini, a former minister and member of parliament who
belongs to the Tuareg minority people. Issoufou's Social
Democratic Party PNDS (the Nigerian Party for Democracy and
Socialism) became the largest in Parliament.
Issoufou also created a new authority to fight
corruption, which is a major problem in the poor country.
Less than two months after the new government took office,
the Minister of Budget and two high-ranking officials were
dismissed following an extensive embezzlement deal. The
public was given the opportunity to tell the authorities
about suspected corruption via a special telephone number.
Issoufou also promised to investigate how the corresponding
€ 129 million disappeared from the Treasury during the
previous term of office of former President Tandja.
Following the accession of the new government, the EU
repealed the sanctions that have been in force since 2009,
when Tandja tried to cling to power by changing the
constitution. In a first step, the EU transferred € 25
million, mainly for education and health care.
The Nigerian government needs all the help it can get. In
addition to suffering an almost chronic famine - in 2011,
more than 2.6 million people were estimated to have
insufficient food - the Algerian terrorist group al-Qaeda in
the Islamic Maghreb poses a growing threat.
However, the potentially biggest disaster this year was
for Niger's civil war in northern neighboring Libya. The war
drove more than 200,000 Nigerian workers back to their
homeland, where there were no resources to take care of
them. Their return led to a large loss of money sent back,
which formed an important part of the Nigerian economy, but
also led in their directions to unrest and increased crime.
Trade with Libya also stopped as well as joint projects. the
construction of a new highway through the desert. The
government was forced to shrink the budget for 2011 by 6.6%
as a result of reduced tax revenues.
Even more dangerous was probably the amount of weapons
and ammunition that came into operation in Libya and
smuggled into Niger. In June, the security service seized a
large arms shipment, probably intended for al Qaeda. There
were also strong fears that returning Tuareg warriors who
had been in the al-Khadaffi regime in Libya would bring the
dormant conflict between the state and Tuaregs to life