United Nations Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon today voiced deep concern about Niger's continuing
political and constitutional crisis, warning that it threatens to
destabilize the country and undermine recent progress towards
democratic governance and the rule of law.
The recent decisions taken by the Niger
Government "have made it extremely difficult for the country's
democratic institutions and the Constitutional Court to play their
roles as guarantors of the rule of law," the Secretary-General
said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
Media reports say President Mamadou
Tandja has dissolved the country's Parliament and its
Constitutional Court in a row over his plans to hold a referendum -
scheduled for next month - to change Niger's constitution so he
can run for a third term in office.
The statement from Secretary-General's office urged restraint on both sides and political dialogue to resolve the crisis, and he also offered his good offices to work with regional partners - especially the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) - to find a solution.