NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Niger's military junta says it will hold presidential elections by year's end as part of a plan to restore power to civilian rule.

The vote is to take place before the February anniversary of the coup that ousted the West African nation's authoritarian leader.

Junta spokesman Col. Goukoye Abdoulkarim says the transition period would include a referendum on a new constitution in October, followed by presidential elections by Dec. 26. If there is no clear winner, a second round would be held in January.

The junta made the announcement late Wednesday. Renegade army soldiers ousted President Mamadou Tandja in February after the aging and increasingly dictatorial leader refused to step down when his mandate expired last year.