After over 20 years in opposition, Mahamadou
Issoufou and his party the Nigerian Party for Democracy
and Socialism (PNDS) came to power in 2011. The first
years Issoufou enjoyed broad support but in 2013 a
conflict broke out within the government which then
burst. The conflict deepened until the 2016 election.
Issofou was re-elected but the election was partially
boycotted by the opposition.
Issoufou won the 2011 election with the support of
Hama Amadou from the country's second largest party
Moden. Amadou became President of Parliament and Moden
took office in the government. Issoufou also
incorporated civil society representatives in an effort
to anchor their rule in society.
Country facts and history of Niger, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
For the first two years, the co-government went well,
but after a quarrel over the distribution of ministerial
posts in connection with a government transformation in
2013, Moden left the government and the contradictions
between Issofou and Amadou deepened.
In the summer of 2014, Amadou lost his parliamentary
immunity and was threatened with charges of
participation in a league accused of selling infants
from Nigeria to rich couples in Niger. Amadou argued
that political reasons were behind the prosecution. To
avoid the charges, he fled to France. In the spring of
2017, a court found Amadou guilty of infant smuggling.
He was sentenced in his absence to prison for one year.
Demonstrations against the government
From 2014, the contradictions in the country
intensified. The opposition gathered large crowds for
hostile demonstrations where Issoufou was accused of
corruption and planning to impose dictatorship. The
government responded by banning public meetings and
detaining opposition activists and journalists.
Before the elections in early 2016, the opposition
formed an alliance but failed to agree on a joint
candidate. Several opposition leaders campaigned against
Issoufou, among them Amadou, who was forced to run his
election campaign from a prison cell when he was
arrested when he returned to the country a few months
before the election.
Issoufou was hoping for a win in the first round but
only got 48 percent of the vote. Thus, a second round
was held between him and Amadou. The opposition,
however, called on its supporters to boycott the
election and Issoufou won with 92 percent of the vote.
Issoufou's party PNDS also won in the parliamentary
elections held simultaneously.
Poverty and corruption
Every Niger government faces enormous challenges.
Rapid population growth exacerbates widespread poverty,
while recurring droughts and failed harvests cause
constant hunger crises. The social institutions do not
reach far outside the cities and parts of Niger are
lawless land and prey for criminal gangs, human
smugglers and violent Islamist movements that cross
borders. The problems are exacerbated by the state's
chronic lack of resources and the extensive corruption.
Issoufou, after its 2011 entry, took several measures
to curb corruption. A hot line for reporting suspicious
cases was established and two new institutions were
given the task of prosecuting corruption in the
judiciary and the public sector. The situation has
subsequently improved according to the organization
Transparency International, which assesses the level of
corruption in the countries of the world, but corruption
still permeates most social functions.
Lawlessness and terrorism
Security problems are high on the agenda. The peace
with the Tuaregs from 2009 (see Modern History) is still
going on so far and Issoufou has started a special
development program for Tuaregs' areas in the north, but
the situation has still remained unsettled. Many of the
rebels have retained their weapons and some of them have
gone over to the Islamist organization al-Qaeda in
Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), which has carried out several
attacks on military posts and foreigners. In the north,
there is a general lawlessness where armed gangs attack
villages, take hostages and steal cattle and other
In spring and summer 2017, targets in western Niger
were attacked by militant groups from Mali and the
government proclaimed state of emergency. At the end of
2017, a new anti-terrorist force, G5 Sahel, was deployed
in the border region between Mali, Niger and Burkina
A major problem is the violent Islamist movement Boko
Haram's presence in the Diffa region of south-eastern
Niger along the border with Nigeria. The Islamists have
their base in Nigeria but regularly enter Niger in
search of food and weapons. Many hundreds of civilians
have been killed in these raids.
Through the war against Boko Haram, the situation for
human rights has deteriorated. Boko Haram carries out
systematic attacks on villages where they plunder,
murder, torture and rape. The government is also abusing
its efforts to stop the terrorists. The military
resources that must be devoted to the government's
scarce resources. The fight against Boko Haram is being
waged jointly with neighboring countries, France and the
United States, but so far no one has been able to stop
the movement. On the contrary, the success of the
Nigerian army against Boko Haram has led the movement to
move its base closer to Niger. The group has succeeded
in infiltrating and winning supporters in the border
Amadou returns home
Fashion leader Hama Amadou returned to Niger in
November 2019 from exile in France. He was imprisoned
immediately to serve the rest of his home sentence for
smuggling infants. Next, Amadou planned to make a
political comeback and once again challenge Issoufou at
the presidential post.
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FACTS - POLITICS
Republic of Niger / Republic of Niger
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Mahamadou Issoufou (2011–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Brigi Rafini (2011–)
Most important parties with mandates in the
Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) 75,
Nigerian Democratic Movement for an African Federation (Moden)
25, National Movement for Social Development (MNSD) 20,
Patriotic Movement for the Republic (MPR-Jamhuriya) 13,
Others 38 (2016)
Main parties with mandates in the second most
Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) 39,
National Movement for Social Development (MNSD) 26,
Moden 24, ANDP, 8, RDP 7, UDR 6, CDS 2 (2011) 1
60% in the second round of the presidential elections
and 66% in the 2016 parliamentary elections
presidential and parliamentary elections 2021
- the largest opposition parties boycotted the