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Niger junta appoints new prime minister

Niger’s military coup leaders led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, have appointed Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine a new Prime Minister for the country.

According to a news report by asaaseradio.com, the announcement was made by the military leaders on the evening of Monday, August 7, 2023, through a statement broadcast on the country’s national television.

“Mr (Ali Mahaman) Lamine Zeine has been appointed Prime Minister,” Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane who is one of the military leaders said.

Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine earlier served as a cabinet director in 2001, then as finance minister in 2002 under the former president of Niger, Mamadou Tandja.

His responsibilities involved navigating a turbulent economic and financial landscape, an inheritance from the military administration that emerged after the assassination of General and President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara in 1999.

Zeine retained his role as Finance Minister until Mamadou Tandja’s removal due to a coup d’état in 2010 led by Major Salou Djibo.

Subsequently, a presidential election resulted in Mahamadou Issoufou’s triumph, preceding the tenure of Mohamed Bazoum, who was ousted on July 26, 2023.

Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, is an economist by training and served as the African Development Bank (AfDB) representative resident in Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, and Gabon.

Born in 1965 in Zinder, Niger’s second-largest town, Zeine joined the Ministry of Economy and Finance in 1991 after pursuing studies at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) in Niamey, Niger.

His academic credentials also include graduating from the Centre d’études Financières, Economiques et Bancaires in Marseille and Paris-I.

Apart from the appointment of the prime minister, Lieutenant-Colonel Habibou Assoumane was also appointed Commander of the Presidential Guard.

These appointments transpired after the ultimatum given by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the ruling military to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum, elapsed.

ECOWAS gave the military leaders up to Sunday, August 7, 2023, to hand over power. It also warned that it might resort to force if this demand remains unmet.

However, Niger’s Western and African allies hold differing viewpoints on potential military intervention to restore civilian governance.

The West African bloc is set to convene again on Thursday, August 10, 2023, in Abuja, Nigeria.

Throughout Niger’s history, the country has witnessed several instances of power being seized by force. Currently, the ousted President Bazoum remains confined to his private residence since the coup’s occurrence.

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