Niger junta appoints transitional prime minister

Niger junta appoints transitional prime minister

Former Finance Minister Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine named premier, according to decree

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – Niger’s junta appointed a transitional prime minister Monday according to a decree read on national television, more than a week after the military coup that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum.

The caretaker government, which calls itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country, appointed economist Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, according to a decree by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger's presidential guard, who declared himself the head of a transitional government.

Zeine, 58, served as finance minister under Mamadou Tandja, who led the country from 1999 to 2010 after its return to civilian rule.

Zeine currently serves as the African Development Bank’s Country Manager for Chad.

Zeine, who previously served at the same institution and position in Ivory Coast and Gabon, is expected to lead consultations for the formation of a new government.

The West African regional bloc the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to hold another emergency summit on Thursday in Nigeria to address the political crisis in Niger after the military leaders ignored its ultimatum to cede power.

On Monday, the US State Department said it made direct contact with the coup leaders and had stressed the need to reinstate Bazoum and for Niger to revert to its “constitutional order.”

Bazoum was detained by members of the Presidential Guard on July 26, who later that evening announced the government takeover. ​​​​​​​

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