From Military Chairman to President of the Republic:
After dissolving the national electoral committee, Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara organized and won a flawed presidential election in July 1996. Baré's party, Union Nationale des Indépendants pour la Renouveau Démocratique (UNIRD, Union of Independents for Democratic Renewal), won 90% of parliament seats in a similarly flawed legislative election in November 1996.
Rapid Decent into Dictatorship:
When his efforts to justify his coup and subsequent questionable elections failed to convince donors to restore multilateral and bilateral economic assistance, a desperate President Baré ignored an international embargo against Libya and sought Libyan funds to aid Niger's economy. In repeated violations of basic civil liberties by the regime, opposition leaders were imprisoned; journalists often arrested, beaten, and deported by an unofficial militia composed of police and military; and independent media offices were looted and burned with impunity.
Reconciliation with Tuareg and Toubou:
In the culmination of an initiative started under the 1991 national conference, however, the government signed peace accords in April 1995 with all Tuareg and Toubou groups that had been in rebellion since 1990, claiming they lacked attention and resources from the central government. The government agreed to absorb some former rebels into the military and, with French assistance, help others return to a productive civilian life.
Military Coup Removes Baré, Permanently:
In April 1999, Baré was overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by Maj. Dauoda Malam Wanké, who established a transitional National Reconciliation Council to oversee the drafting of a constitution for a Fifth Republic with a French style semi-presidential system. In votes that international observers found to be generally free and fair, the Nigerien electorate approved the new constitution in July 1999 and held legislative and presidential elections in October and November 1999.
A Democratically Elected Coalition Government:
Mamadou Tandja was elected president on 22 December 1999, heading a coalition of the Mouvement National de la Societé de Développement (MNSD, National Movement for a Developing Society) and the Convention Démocratique et Sociale (CDS, Democratic and Social Convention). In July 2004, Niger held municipal elections nationwide as part of its decentralization process. Some 3,700 people were elected to new local governments in 265 newly established communes. The ruling MNSD party won more positions than any other political party; however, opposition parties made significant gains.
Democracy Continues to Flourish in Niger:
In November and December 2004, Niger held presidential and legislative elections. Mamadou Tandja was elected to his second 5-year presidential term with 65% of the vote in an election that international observers called generally free and fair. This was the first presidential election with a democratically elected incumbent and a test to Niger's young democracy.
Six out of Seven Parties form a Coalition to Back Tandja:
In the 2004 legislative elections, the Mouvement National de la Societé de Développement (MNSD, National Movement for a Developing Society), the Convention Démocratique et Sociale (CDS, Democratic and Social Convention), the Rassemblement Social Démocratique (RSD, Rally for Social Democracy), the Rassemblement pour la Démocratie et le Progrès (RDP, Rally for Democracy and Progress), the Alliance Nigérienne pour la Démocratie et le Progrès (ANDP, Nigerien Alliance for Democracy and Progress), and the Parti pour le Socialisme et la Démocratie au Niger (PSDN, Social Party for Nigerien Democracy) coalition, which backed Tandja, won 88 of the 113 seats in the National Assembly.
Previous: A Brief History of Niger - Part 1
(Text from Public Domain material, US Department of State Background Notes.)