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Niger: Preliminary Draft Constitution Prepared

(Sept. 9, 2010) On September 2, 2010, Niger's ruling Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy released a description of a new, draft constitution for the country. Among the reforms this draft includes, compared with earlier versions, are the lifting of the requirement for candidates for the presidency to have university degrees and the lowering of the minimum age of eligibility for the office to 35. The previously envisioned upper age limit of 70 has been deleted. The presidential term of office will be for five years, with the office holder eligible to seek re-election for only one additional term . (Amnesty for Coup Plotters Amongst Draft Constitution Proposals, RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONALE (Sept. 3, 2010), World News Connection online subscription database, Doc. No. 201009031477.1_26e50034b40405c0.)

In addition, the text allots special powers to the President in exceptional cases and extends amnesty to participants in the February 2010 coup that overthrew then President Mamadou Tandja. (Id.)

According to Colonel Abdoulkarim Goukoye, a spokesperson for the Supreme Council, this draft will be circulated throughout Niger before it is submitted to a referendum, set for October 31 of this year. (Military Junta Makes Changes to Niger's Draft Constitution, BBC WORLD SERVICE (Sept. 3, 2010),
; RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONALE, supra.) Elections are planned for February 2011, a year after Tandja's overthrow. (BBC WORLD SERVICE, supra.)