End of a coup

While countries to its north and west fight bloody civil conflicts, there some positive news from Niger today, where the military handed power to a civilian government, 14 months after a coup: The BBC’s Idy Baraou says Mr Issoufou was sworn in at a ceremony attended by eight other African heads of state. A long-time ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
BOUREIMA HAMA/AFP/Getty Images
BOUREIMA HAMA/AFP/Getty Images
BOUREIMA HAMA/AFP/Getty Images

While countries to its north and west fight bloody civil conflicts, there some positive news from Niger today, where the military handed power to a civilian government, 14 months after a coup:

The BBC's Idy Baraou says Mr Issoufou was sworn in at a ceremony attended by eight other African heads of state. A long-time opposition leader and ex-mining engineer, he won last month's run-off with nearly 58% of the vote.

Soldiers ousted President Mamadou Tandja in February 2010 after he sought a third term in office.

While countries to its north and west fight bloody civil conflicts, there some positive news from Niger today, where the military handed power to a civilian government, 14 months after a coup:

The BBC’s Idy Baraou says Mr Issoufou was sworn in at a ceremony attended by eight other African heads of state. A long-time opposition leader and ex-mining engineer, he won last month’s run-off with nearly 58% of the vote.

Soldiers ousted President Mamadou Tandja in February 2010 after he sought a third term in office.

Our reporter in Niamey says crowds of people waited in 40 degree heat outside the stadium where the ceremony took place to greet the newly sworn-in leader. The military junta declared the day a public holiday and has gone to great effort to spruce up the capital, determined to make the event a success, he says.

One of the most interesting trends in the post-Cold War world is that coups happen a lot less frequently than they used to and are more likely to quickly transition back to democratic (or at least pseudo-democratic) rule. Fast coups such as the recent ones in Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, and Niger are becoming more the rule. 

On the topic of methods for resolving civil conflict, I’ve also found it striking that there’s been relatively little discussion of a "government of national unity" as a solution to the crisis in the Ivory Coast. The African Union proposed this  solution last month, but it never gained much traction and at this point, Laurent Gbagbo seems to be in no position to make demands. Perhaps the recent exeperiences of Kenya and Zimbabwe, where internationally-imposed, post-election GNUs have done little to ameliorate internal tensions or strenghten democracy, have discredited the idea.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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