Niger to elect new parliament speaker on Monday

21st November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Niger will elect a new parliament speaker on Monday to replace the incumbent who fled to France after being named in a baby trafficking scandal.

A parliamentary source said the decision was taken at a meeting on Friday, a day after the west African country's top court declared the post vacant.

The constitutional court on Thursday also asked lawmakers to elect a new head within 15 days, in line with the constitution. The parliament began its budget session on October 4.

The former speaker, Hama Amadou, who had been seen as a leading challenger to President Mahamadou Issoufou in 2016 elections, left Niger on August 27 after lawmakers approved his questioning in the scandal.

He went to Burkina Faso and then to Belgium and is currently in France. Niger issued an arrest warrant for Amadou at the end of September.

Seventeen people, 12 of them women -- including one of Amadou's wives -- were arrested in late June for their suspected involvement in a baby-trafficking ring between Nigeria, Benin and Niger.

Amadou says the charges are politically motivated. In September he called for an international arrest warrant to be issued so that he could argue his case before the French authorities.

© 2014 AFP

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