- Niger opposition parties are outraged by President Mamadou Tandja's decision to dissolve the parliament yesterday hours after the constitutional court rejected his plan to hold a referendum on extending his term in office.
President Tandja's is seeking a third term, as his second term is set to expire this year, but the government has been lobbying for constitutional changes to allow him to contest the November election.
The parliamentarians vowed to begin demonstrations to protest President Tandja's action, saying his hunger for power has turned him into a dictator.
The dissolution of parliament marks the end of a bitter spat between the president and parliament over the third term issue, which the MPs demand a change in leadership in the West African state.
The national broadcaster reported President Tandja saying that his decision was backed by the prime minister and the speaker of parliament.
The constitution bans him from standing again in the elections scheduled for December 2009, but he has said he would willingly stay in power if the people want to give him another term.
The 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said last week that neighbouring countries could punish Niger with economic sanctions if democracy would be compromised.
According to the constitution, a new parliament will now have to be elected within three months, but there was no immediate presidential announcement on a new election date.
Earlier this month, thousands marched to the streets in protests against the referendum plan, saying the president should step down.
The 70 years old leader was first elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2004.
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