1. A republic in West Africa; gained independence from France in 1960.
2. An African river; flows into the South Atlantic; Also called: Niger River.
(river) Third-longest river in Africa, 4,185 km/2,600 mi. It rises in the highlands bordering Sierra Leone and Guinea, flows ne through Mali, then se through Niger and Nigeria to an inland delta on the Gulf of Guinea. Its flow has been badly affected by the expansion of the Sahara Desert. It is sluggish and frequently floods its banks. It was explored by the Scotsman Mungo Park 1795–96.(country) Landlocked country in nw Africa, bounded N by Algeria and Libya, E by Chad, S by Nigeria and Benin, and W by Burkina Faso and Mali.
The 1992 constitution provides for a multiparty system. The president is directly elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, renewable only once. There is a single chamber 83-member national assembly, similarly elected for a five-year term. The president appoints a prime minister as head of government.
Niger was part of ancient and medieval empires in Africa. European explorers arrived in the late 18th century, and Tuareg people invaded the area from the north. France seized it from the Tuaregs 1904 and made it part of French West Africa, although fighting continued until 1922. It became a French overseas territory 1946 and an autonomous republic within the French Community 1958.
Niger achieved full independence 1960, and Hamani Diori was elected president. Maintaining close relations with France, Diori seemed to have established one of the most stable regimes in Africa, and the discovery of uranium deposits promised a sound economic future.
A severe drought 1968–74 resulted in widespread civil disorder, and in April 1974 Diori was ousted by the army led by the Chief of Staff, Lt-Col Seyni Kountché. Having suspended the constitution and established a military government with himself as president, he tried to restore the economy and negotiated a more equal relationship with France through a cooperation agreement 1977.
Kountché tried to widen his popular support by liberalizing his regime and releasing political prisoners, including former president Hamani Diori. More civilians were introduced into the government with the prospect of an eventual return to constitutional rule. When Kountché died 1987, the supreme military council appointed Col Ali Saibu acting president. He was elected without opposition in elections 1989.
In July 1990 the government announced plans for the introduction of a multiparty political system and a constitutional conference, attended by representatives of all political views, opened July 1991. In Aug Saibu was stripped of his executive powers, but allowed to retain the title of head of state until a new constitution was agreed. A transitional government consisting of a 15-member High Council of the Republic was set up, but collapsed March 1992, leaving an unstable political situation. A referendum Dec 1992 endorsed constitutional change allowing for the introduction of multiparty politics. Meanwhile, in the north of the country, an independence movement by Tuaregs was becoming increasingly violent.
First free elections
A left-wing coalition, the Alliance of the Forces for Change (afc), won an absolute majority in the first multiparty assembly elections Feb 1993 and the following month Mahamane Ousmane was elected president. Mahamdou Issoufou was appointed prime minister. A partial peace agreement was reached with the Tuareg rebels June 1994. Two months later rains flooded the east and center of the country, leaving 20,000 people homeless.
The opposition National Movement for a Development Society (mnsd) won the Jan 1995 assembly elections and after President Ousmane's nominee was rejected, Hama Amadou was appointed premier.
Država i reka u Africi.