, NIAMEY, Aug 23 – The Nigerien Democratic Movement (MODEN), the main ally of Niger’s ruling party, has announced its withdrawal from the governing coalition, blaming bids to disrupt it, the party announced Friday.
In a statement released on Thursday, MODEN said: “The political bureau of the MODEN decides to withdraw definitively from today (Thursday) from the Movement for the Renaissance of Niger (MRN), faced with manoeuvres aimed at disrupting the party.”
The party gave no details of the alleged attempts to undermine it or those it held responsible, but said its leaders had taken the decision “with the sole aim of avoiding a useless deadlock in government institutions”.
With the loss of his main support, President Mahamadou Issoufou is confronted with his first political crisis in the coup prone west African country since his election in 2011. MODEN had enabled the veteran opposition leader to win the second round of that poll.
On August 17, MODEN withdrew all of its government ministers from their duties in protest at what the party saw as insufficient representation in a new cabinet formed by Issoufou three days earlier.
The party, which holds 25 of the 113 seats in the National Assembly as well as the post of speaker, accuses Issoufou of failing to consult it when he formed the new government and of giving MODEN members ministries “like empty shells”.
MODEN said it will decide on measures “to shield the party from any destabilisation” attempts.
Though he has a large majority in parliament, Issoufou said during independence day celebrations on August 3 that he planned to form a “unity government” to strengthen domestic political stability, particularly as Niger remains one of the Sahel nations vulnerable to action by armed Islamist extremists.
Twin attacks at an army base and French run uranium mine in northern Niger in May left 20 people dead.