A mounting political crisis has become "dangerous" in Niger, where the president has dissolved the parliament and constitutional court opposed to his plans to short-circuit term limits, France's foreign minister said.
"The situation is dangerous in Niger," Bernard Kouchner said on Wednesday after arriving in Senegal.
Kouchner pointed to "several demands of the president which weren't satisfied, the reaction by the opposition, the dissolution which was announced and the desire of the president to stand for office again despite only two terms being allowed according to the constitution."
President Mamadou Tandja disolved the constitutional court and parliament which opposed his plan to hold a referendum on allowing him to stand for a third term as president.
Tandja, a 71-year-old retired army colonel whose legal term limit ends in December, has also claimed emergency powers, which he said were necessary to protect the independence of the arid and landlocked west African nation.
"France asserts, as others in Africa, that it is necessary to respect and return to the constitutional order," said Kouchner.