Niger junta says to hold elections after situation stablized   2010-02-21 11:10:42 FeedbackPrintRSS

BAMAKO, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Niger's coup junta promised Saturday to organize elections, but failed to specify a date two days after a coup that ousted President Mamadou Tandja.

"We plan to organize elections but first we have to stabilize the situation," Colonel Djibrilla Hima, one of the coup leaders, told reporters in Mali.

The military junta is facing mounting pressure as Niger's political opposition urged for swift elections to restore civilian rule. The UN and many foreign governments have also condemned the coup.

The African Union (AU) said in a statement on Saturday that it had decided to suspend the participation of Niger in all activities of the AU until the restoration of constitutional order in the country.

Hima said he had won "understanding" after he explained the reason for the coup to the region's leaders gathered in the Malian capital of Bamako for a summit.

He said elections will be organized at "a right moment," adding that they had to "ally the people and create conditions" for such a poll.

A group of soldiers launched a coup on Thursday in the Nigerien capital of Niamey, seizing the president, suspending the constitution and dissolving the government.

There had been political tension in Niger since Tandja dissolved parliament and conducted a referendum to extend his two-term tenure.

The opposition condemned the August 2009 referendum that would allow Tandja, who was scheduled to step down in December 2009 after the expiration of two five-year terms, to stay in power till 2012.

Editor: Wang Guanqun
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