Niger: Secretary-General urges restraint ahead of referendum

Less bustle at a market in Niger's capital Niamey, as some heed calls for a strike to protest a constitutional referendum

31 July 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the people of Niger to refrain from violence and exercise the utmost restraint, days before they vote on a controversial referendum to change the national constitution to allow the current President to run for a third term in office.

Mr. Ban “reiterates his support for an inclusive process to resolve the current crisis peacefully and in conformity with the country's democratic values,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

On Tuesday Niger is staging a referendum that could endorse a constitutional amendment on presidential term limits and allow incumbent Mamadou Tandja to run for a third consecutive term.

Mr. Ban said he was concerned that the referendum was taking place, “despite sharp differences among the country's political stakeholders,” and he urged all sides in the impoverished West African country to show restraint.

“The United Nations stands ready to support initiatives that would help resolve the current situation in a peaceful and sustainable manner,” he added.


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