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Niger

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Niger



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The unicameral National Assembly of Niger (Assemblée Nationale) is the country's sole legislative body. The National Assembly may propose laws and is required to approve all legislation. Under a presidential system of government instituted in 2009, the National Assembly has no power over the selection of the Prime Minister and cannot hold a vote of no confidence in the government; however, it also cannot be dissolved by the President. The introduction of a Senate is planned; when that occurs, the National Assembly will become the lower house of a bicameral parliament.[1]

Contents

History

The National Assembly was established through reforms of the Colony of Niger's Constituent Council during the French colonial period. It operated from 1958, through independence in 1960, until the 1974 Nigerien coup d'état. During the course of military rule (1974–1991) a consultative body (the High Council of the Republic of Niger) was reformed to become analogous to a National Assembly. This functioned as a caretaker National Assembly during the Constitutional Convention period of the Second Republic (1991–1993) and was reconstituted as the National Assembly in the Third Republic (1993–1996). Following the 1996 Nigerien coup d'état the National Assembly was again suspended, and reinstituted in 1997 under the Fourth Republic. Again, following the 1999 Nigerien coup d'état, the National Assembly was suspended, but this time was reconstituted within the year under the Fifth Republic. (1999–present)[2][3][4][5]

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2009 dissolution of assembly

On 27 May 2009, the assembly was dissolved by Tandja Mamadou after his plan to hold a referendum was rejected by the Constitutional Court. Although the court and the National Assembly had only a non-binding advisory role over Tandja's referendum plan, statements by MNSD-Nassara's coalition partners CDS-Rahama indicate the MNSD Prime Minister of Niger, as well as the President, would be open to a censure motion in the assembly. According to the 1999 constitution, the President is limited to stand for reelection once: Tandja's second five year term ends 22 December 2009.[6] The purpose of the proposed referendum was to scrap the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, creating a new Sixth Republic prior to the November Presidential elections. Constitutionally, the articles dealing with presidential terms (article 36) may not be revised by any method (article 136). According to Tandja, the people of Niger want him to stay because he has boosted the economy of Niger.[6] The opposition described this act as dictatorship, calling for protests: a continuation of demonstrations which began in December 2008.[7]

Powers

Under the Constitution of the Fifth Republic (18 July 1999), the National Assembly has oversight of the executive in voting on legislation, overriding a Presidential veto, voting no confidence in the Prime Minister, and the reserved right of nominating the Prime Minister. As well, the Assembly has recourse to publicly investigate the executive through committee hearings, hearing in plenary sittings, commissions of enquiry, formal parliamentary questions, "Question Time", and Interpellations. There is no formal parliamentary ombudsman oversight of government. [8]

Composition

The current National Assembly, formed following elections held on 4 December 2004, has 113 members, elected for a five year term, 105 members elected in multi-seat constituencies and 8 members elected in single-seat national minority constituencies. The multi-seat constituency members are elected using a party-list (Scrutin du liste) proportional representation system. For these seats, political parties must attain at least 5% of the vote in order to gain a seat in the legislature. The remaining eight seats are single constituency, elected by a first-past-the-post system.[9] One element of the Judiciary of Niger, the High Court of Justice, is composed of Deputies elected from within the National Assembly. Fourteen women occupy seats in the National Assembly.

Former President of Niger and leader of CDS-Rahama, Mahamane Ousmane, is the current President of the National Assembly.

Sessions

The National Assembly sits for two "ordinary" sessions a year, usually the first during March–June and the second from August to October, meeting at the National Assembly Building in Niamey. So-called "extraordinary" sessions, lasting from a few hours to a week, occur two or more times a year. Since the year 2000, the National Assembly has ratified between 10 and 30 laws, spending plans, and treaties in each ordinary session.[10] The internal functioning of the Assembly is governed by the 1999 Constitution of the 5th Republic and by the Law n° 97 - 006/AN of 5 June 1997[11]

e • d  Summary of the 4 December 2004 National Assembly of Niger election results
Parties Votes % Seats
National Movement for the Development of Society (Mouvement National de la Societé de Développement-Nassara) 37.2 47
PNDS and allies Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (Parti Nigerien pour la Democratie et le Socialisme) 13.4 17
Combined list with Nigerien Progressive Party-African Democratic Rally (Parti Progressiste Nigérien-Rassemblement Démocratique Nigerien) and Nigerien Self-Management Party (Parti Nigérien pour l’Autogestion-Al'ouma) 2.7 4
Combined list with Union of Independent Nigeriens (Union des Nigériens Indépendants) and Union for Democracy and the Republic (Union pour la Démocratie et la République-Tabbat) 3.3 2
Combined list with Nigerien Progressive Party-African Democratic Rally (Parti Progressiste Nigérien-Rassemblement Démocratique Nigerien) 1.9 2
Democratic and Social Convention (Convention démocratique et sociale-Rahama) 17.4 22
Social Democratic Rally (Rassemblement social démocratique-Gaskiya) 7.1 7
Rally for Democracy and Progress (Rassemblement pour la Démocratie et le Progrès-Jama'a) 6.5 6
Nigerien Alliance for Democracy and Progress (Alliance nigérienne pour la démocratie et le progrès-Zaman Lahiya) 5.4 5
Party for Socialism and Democracy in Niger (Parti pour le socialisme et la démocratie au Niger-Alheri) 1.3 1
Total (turnout 44.7%)   113
Source: africanelections.tripod.com

See also

References

  1. ^ Page on 2009 election at IPU-PARLINE website.
  2. ^ Decalo, Samuel (1997). Historical Dictionary of the Niger (3rd ed.). Boston & Folkestone: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810831368.  
  3. ^ Myriam Gervais. Niger: Regime Change Economic Crisis and Perpetuation of Privilege. pp. 86–108. Political Reform in Francophone Africa, Ed. John Frank Clark, David E. Gardinier. Westview Press (1997) ISBN 0813327865
  4. ^ Leonardo A. Villalón and Abdourahmane Idrissa. Repetitive Breakdowns and a Decade of Experimentation: Institutional Choices and Unstable Democracy in Niger, pp.27–48 in The Fate of Africa's Democratic Experiments: Elites and Institutions, ed. Leonardo Alfonso Villalón, Peter VonDoepp. Indiana University Press (2005) ISBN 0253345758
  5. ^ Pierre Englebert, Katharine Murison. Niger: Recent History, pp.856–865 in Africa South of the Sahara, 2007; ed. Iain Frame. Routledge (2006) ISBN 978185743369
  6. ^ a b "Opposition anger at Niger leader". BBC. 27 May 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8069650.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-27.  
  7. ^ "Niger Legislator Says President Tandja’s Dissolution of Parliament is Dictatorial". VoA news. 27 May 2009. http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2009-05-27-voa3.cfm. Retrieved 2009-05-27.  
  8. ^ Riccardo Pelizzo, Rick Stapenhurst. Tools for Legislative Oversight: An Empirical Investigation. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3388, September 2004
  9. ^ African Elections Database: Niger. 09 June 2007
  10. ^ See: National Assembly of Niger website, listing all laws passed 2000–2007.
  11. ^ FONCTIONNEMENT DE L'Assemblée nationale: www.assemblee.ne.

External links


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