Niger’s military is set to vote in a referendum on President Mamadou Tandja’s bid to serve a third term.

The government says the soldiers are voting early so they can ensure the safety of the rest of the people, who will go to the polls on Tuesday.

Earlier, opposition groups reiterated they would boycott the vote, which they have described a coup d’etat.

Mr Tandja has recently dissolved parliament and the constitutional court to push through his referendum plan.

He says the people of Niger want him to stay in power, and his actions reflect their will.

But his efforts have caused widespread protests in Niger and sparked international condemnation

Reports from the country said huge posters of Mr Tandja were plastered throughout the capital, Niamey, and other main cities.

State media has been calling on voters to say “yes” to changing the constitution so the 71-year-old president can stay in office.

The move would allow him an initial three-year term, and then he would be able to run for re-election with no term limits.

The BBC’s Idy Baraou in Niamey says the referendum is asking the people to vote yes if they want the betterment of their life, and a better tomorrow.

The AFP news agency reported that opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou launched a final appeal on Sunday for “mobilisation to cause the illegal referendum to fail”.



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