February 22, 2010 / 8:26 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Niger junta to assume powers, will name PM, gov't

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NIAMEY, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Niger’s military rulers said on Monday they would assume all legislative and executive powers until elections, but would name a prime minister and government to help oversee the transition.

The Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD) also said it would set up a body to draft a new constitution for the northwest African uranium exporter, which would have to be adopted in a referendum before polls could be held. The junta gave no timeframe for any decisions.

“The president of the CSRD will name by decree a prime minister as well as the other members of the government,” said a statement broadcast on state radio, referring to junta leader Salou Djibo.

The military junta, which ousted President Mamadou Tandja in a coup last Thursday, said it would hand power back to civilians after the process was completed.

Last week’s coup followed months of wrangling between Tandja and the opposition over the president’s moves last year to extend his time in power after his second term ran out.

Though formally criticised by the international community, the coup is seen by many as an opportunity for a fresh start after months of failed internationally backed talks. (Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalatchi; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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