The Swiss foreign ministry has expressed concern at the political situation in Niger, "deploring" in particular the recent dissolution of the Constitutional Court.This content was published on July 3, 2009 - 18:05
In a statement issued on Friday the ministry said it was deeply concerned over President Mamadou Tandja's decision to hold a constitutional referendum on the establishment of a new constitution for Niger.
"The foreign ministry considers the dissolution of the Constitutional Court and the decision to govern by decrees and ordinances as acts that imperil democratic achievements and stability in Niger. Furthermore it deplores the restrictions imposed on private sector media and on freedom of expression," the ministry said.
Tandja disbanded both the court and parliament after the court twice ruled his plans for constitutional changes that would enable him to stand for a third term were illegal.
Switzerland called for the rule of law to be respected and for civil society to show restraint.
The ministry said it would be reviewing bilateral relations with Niger in light of the changing situation.
Niger is a priority country for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, which sets an annual SFr12 million budget to fund programmes for local governance, rural development and education there.
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