State and politics
Niger has since 1960 been characterized by political
instability, fueled by drought, fragile economy and ethnic
tensions. Military coup governments have replaced each other
and most shifts in power have created a new constitution.
The current Constitution is the country's seventh and was
passed in a referendum in October 2010, eight months after a
military junta deposed former President Mamadou Tandja.
The Constitution of the "Seventh Republic" states that a
President may sit in power for a maximum of two terms of
office, each of five years. The president is head of state
and commander-in-chief. To be elected, a candidate must
receive more than 50 percent of the vote; if this is not
achieved in the first round, a second, decisive round is
arranged between the two candidates who received the most
votes in the first. All the country's presidents since
independence in 1960 have been men.
Parliament (National Assembly) has the legislative power.
Of the 171 members elected in the 2016 election, 25 (15
percent) were women. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of NG and its meanings of Niger.
When Mamadou Tandja was overthrown, as late as August
2009, he had undergone constitutional changes that would
have in practice enabled him to be re-elected an unlimited
number of times. He had also dissolved the Constitutional
Court, since it rejected his draft constitutional
amendments, and arranged parliamentary elections which were
boycotted by the entire opposition. Tandja's total takeover
of power led to Niger being temporarily suspended from
participation in the West African cooperation organization
Tandja was deposed in a military coup in February 2010
and in October the same year a referendum was held on a new
constitution. In addition to reintroducing a limited number
of terms of office for the president, it also establishes
increased transparency about the country's mineral
extraction and obliges the state to secure a larger share of
the revenues from, among other things, uranium, gold and
New elections for civilian leaders were conducted in the
winter of 2011. In the presidential election, Social
Democrat Mahamadou Issoufou, Prime Minister from 1993-94,
won by 36 percent of the votes in the first round and 58
percent in the second. His party, the Party of Nigeria
for the Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya),
received the most seats (37 out of 113) in the new
parliament. The party strengthened its hold when it captured
75 of 171 seats in the 2016 election.
In the 2016 presidential election, Issoufou received 48
percent of the vote in the first round and Hama Amadou,
former prime minister and president of parliament, 18
percent. Both were allies before and after the 2011 election
but have been political opponents since 2013. Amadou was
detained during the 2016 election campaign, accused of being
involved in child trafficking. He himself claimed that the
charges were politically motivated. The opposition called
for a boycott of the decisive round, which according to
official figures attracted 59 percent of the electorate and
won by Issoufou with 92 percent of the vote.
The general courts consist of peacemakers (petty courts),
courts of first instance and an appellate court. Material
law is strongly influenced by French law, but customary law
predominates in family law. The death penalty remains in the
penal code but is de facto abolished in 1976.
Heads of State
||Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara
||Daouda Malam Wanké