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Monday, 3 January, 2000, 17:21 GMT
No pay for Niger MPs




Niger's new Prime Minister, Hama Amadou, has told members of parliament that the government does not have enough money to pay their salaries.

Mr Amadou told the 83 MPs that the country's financial situation was disastrous

"The coffers are absolutely empty," he said, and asked them to be understanding by temporarily forgoing their salaries.

Mr Amadou made the announcement immediately after being sworn in at a ceremony in parliament.

He swore on the Koran "not to betray or misrepresent the public's aspirations and to faithfully fulfil the high functions invested in me."

In a televised interview, Mr Amadou said the list of new goverment ministers would be announced on Monday.

He stressed that the new cabinet would include members of the opposition.

New democracy

Mr Amadou was appointed by newly-elected President Mamadou Tandja.

Mr Tandja was elected in November after the latest military ruler, Major Daouda Mallam Wanke, briefly seized power in a coup d'etat with a promise to hand over power to civilians.

Niger has suffered austere military rule for most of the years since independence from France in 1960.

The election of a civilian leader has seen Western donor countries begin to return with promises of loans and grants, so long as the experiment in democracy continues.

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See also:
22 Dec 99 |  Africa
Military rule ends in Niger
09 Apr 99 |  Africa
Niger: A copybook coup d'etat
09 Apr 99 |  Africa
Niger government accepts election demands

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