February 23, 2010 / 8:03 PM / 10 years ago

Niger junta names Mahamadou Danda prime minister

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Niger’s ruling military junta has named Mahamadou Danda as Prime Minister in a transitional government, according to a statement read over state television on Tuesday.

The announcement comes four days after the junta toppled the West African country’s President Mamadou Tandja in a coup after months of wrangling between the uranium-exporting nation’s president and opposition parties.

Danda served as information minister in the transitional government that followed Niger’s last coup in 1999, when the army ousted the president and organised elections soon afterwards. Since then he has worked as an administrator.

The junta, which is called the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy and includes several officers involved in the 1999 coup, has said it plans a similarly swift return to democracy.

It says it will retain executive and legislative powers until a new constitution is adopted and elections are held. The junta will also name a government to work with the prime minister.

But there are no further details of the timeframe nor the form the transition will take.

The coup, Niger’s fourth since independence from France, was widely welcomed by Nigeriens tired of months of political bickering in a nation that is one of the world’s poorest but also looking to become a leading uranium exporter.

The international community has officially criticised the army’s take-over but diplomats recognise, in private, that it has offered a breakthrough in a stalemate where international mediation failed.

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