|09NIAMEY45||2009-01-30 13:13:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Niamey|
VZCZCXRO9261 RR RUEHMA RUEHPA DE RUEHNM #0045 0301313 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 301313Z JAN 09 FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4823 INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 3476 RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS NIAMEY 000045
1. (U) Summary: During the ongoing extraordinary session of the
National Assembly that started on January 20, several majority party
(Mouvement National pour la Societe de Developpement aka MNSD)
deputies filed a motion of "no confidence" against the Government of
Niger. On January 29, Niger's Minister of Environment and the Fight
Against Desertification was replaced in a minor cabinet reshuffle.
2. (U) On January 29, a group of 12 deputies from the majority
party, the MNSD, issued a motion of "no confidence" against Prime
Minister Seini Oumarou's cabinet. The text of the motion cites the
Prime Minister's failure to deliver on various issues, such as the
rising cost of living, widespread corruption, the independence of
the judicial system, and breach of equality of citizens in dealing
with legal cases. Most of the motion's drafters are thought to be
supporters of former Prime Minister Hama Amadou, who has been in
prison since June 28, 2008. By law, the motion should be examined
48 hours after its submission to the president of the National
Assembly; therefore, debates are expected to commence on January 31.
If a simple of majority of members of parliament vote for the
motion, the Prime Minister and his cabinet should resign and a new
cabinet be formed.
3. (SBU) In a "technical" cabinet reshuffle on January 29, the
Minister of Environment and the Fight Against Desertification
Mohamed Akotey was replaced by Issouf Baco. The new minister is
President of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), a
predominantly Tuareg party. Like Akotey, Baco is a Tuareg. The
reasons for Akotey's removal are not known, but there was
speculation that he had asked President Tandja to discharge him from
office for "personal" reasons.
4. (SBU) Comment: The motion at the National Assembly occurs in the
context of an ongoing power struggle within the MNSD. The deputies
who support former PM Hama Amadou intend to discredit PM Oumarou by
putting more pressure on him regarding the performance of his
cabinet. In recent meetings, a portion of the Tillabery section of
the MNSD, Hama and Oumarou's political party, declared that it had
lost confidence in Oumarou. Media reports state that Hama's
supporters have decided to use the motion as a way to express their
views publicly on the situation within the MNSD and on issues of
national importance, which may otherwise not have government media
coverage due to restrictions on government radio and TV (the only
media to cover the entire country). By law, debates on motions of
"no confidence" must be covered in their entirety by both public
radio and TV.
5. (SBU) Comment continued: In the current political context, with
few Hama supporters within the National Assembly, it seems unlikely
that the motion submitted by the 12 deputies will be passed. On
the executive front, more changes may occur if the violations of
Article 41 of the Constitution on the annual declaration of assets
by the President and cabinet members, as observed recently by the
Constitutional Court, were to be sanctioned. End comment.
6. Minimize considered.