September 7, 2010 / 3:47 PM / in 8 years

Niger wins $41 million in election support

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Junta-ruled Niger said on Tuesday it had secured $41 million in aid from international donors to stage elections, raising prospects for a peaceful return to civilian rule in the uranium-producing state.

Army leaders deposed former President Mamadou Tandja last February after he overstayed his mandate and awarded himself broad new powers in defiance of domestic and foreign critics.

Junta chief Salou Djibo has since won international plaudits for promising an election to install a new president by April next year.

“With this support I think we can go into the elections without too many worries,” said Bazoum Mohamed, spokesman for the PNDS party, which opposed Tandja.

If the transition is successful, Niger could be the second country in the West African region to shift from military to elected government in less than a year. Guinea is due to hold its presidential runoff on September 19.

Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries and one which aid agencies say faces severe food shortages, is rich in uranium and oil and is drawing billions of dollars of investment from French power firm Areva and China National Petroleum Corp , among others.

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