Niger coup: Former economist named as new prime minister

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Nearly two weeks after the military took over power in Niger, the coup plotters have named former economy minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine as the country’s new prime minister.

A spokesman for the military junta made the announcement on television late on Monday night.

Lamine Zeine was formerly the minister of economy and finance for several years in the cabinet of then-president Mamadou Tandja, who was ousted in 2010, and most recently worked as an economist for the African Development Bank in Chad, according to a Nigerien media report.

At the end of July, the military ousted the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum and suspended the constitution in the country of 26 million inhabitants.

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Under Bazoum, Niger had been one of the last strategic partners of the West in the fight against the advance of Islamist terrorists in the Sahel.

An ultimatum from the West African community of states ECOWAS to the coup plotters to reinstate Bazoum expired on the weekend.

Otherwise, ECOWAS would take measures that could include force, the ultimatum said.

The prime ministers of the ECOWAS member states will now meet in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Thursday to discuss how to proceed. (dpa/NAN)

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