Tag Archives: Constitution

The Gambia: EU concerns over constitution review

“The European Union has been at the forefront of support to the democratic transition in The Gambia since 2017 and to the reforms aiming at entrenching democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Over the last months, it has observed with growing concern a marked slowdown in the pace of the reform process and in particular noted the recent important setback with the rejection of the draft new Constitution. It is key for the 2021 Presidential elections to take place on the basis of a new social contract” reads the statement of the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell.

“The constitutional review process is linked to other pillars of the democratic transition, in particular the transitional justice process with the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), as well as the Security Sector Reform (SSR). It therefore remains important to lay the foundations for the follow-up of these processes. Moreover, taking forward other significant reforms, such as the revision of the Public Order Law, media and access to information laws prior to the 2021 Presidential elections, requires decisive Government action.

“The European Union calls upon the Government to take the lead in building the necessary national consensus around the future direction of the democratic transition, with a new Constitution at its core”  the EU top diplomat wrote.

In December 2017, the National Assembly of the Gambia had established a Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) to draft a new statute book to replace the 1997 constitution, which many analysts believed had many undemocratic provisions. This constitution had been drafted three years after a military coup led by Yahya Jammeh, who amid high drama was overthrown, by a seven-party political alliance loosely called Coalition 2016.

But since then Gambian President Adama Barrow has walked out from the coalition that brought him to power and has launched his political party he National People’s Party (NPP).

Experts say that that the country’s transition that received praise from the international community and counted as one of the successes of post-dictatorial democratic transition on the rocks. They say, that democracy has become trapped under the complexities of power struggle.

After registering his new party in January, Barrow made it clear that he plans to run for president again in 2021, although he indicated when he was elected that he would be a one-term president.

The constitution bill would have created a two term limit, with the President serving five years per term. A clause in the bill for a transitional president, such as Barrow, would have his current term counted as one term.

EU diplomacy supports CAR electoral calendar

Only a peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process, conducted in accordance with the electoral calendar will guarantee credible and legitimate elections, awaited by the population” said the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson, reacting upon various hypothetical scenarios of postponement of the presidential elections in Central African Republic, originally foreseen the end of December 2020.

The poisson of the European Union diplomacy vis-à-vis elections has been announced after the Minusca (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) raised concerns about the consequences of the constitutional reform project launched by the Central African Republic president Faustin Archange Touadéra, which would allow him to secure his own interim if the December presidential election is postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.

While the President Touadéra is preparing to validate a constitutional amendment that would allow him to ensure his own interim in the situation of the postponement of the presidential election in December 2020, the project raises the most serious concerns within the UN.

Reportedly the international experts are warning about the destabilising consequences of such a sifnificant legal project, changing the Constitution of the country, in spite of a considerable political opposition to the initiative.

However validated on April 22 by the President’s office, it will be presented to the Council of Ministers in the nearest future.

Sudan Al-Bashir presidency unlimited

Sudan parliamentary committee mandated with amending the Constitution to allow President Omar al-Bashir to run for another mandate informed it would indefinitely postpone a meeting to draft these changes, state news agency SUNA reports.

The decision comes amid almost daily street protests since mid-December, initially sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages, against Al-Bashir’s three decades rule.

Burundi leader can stay until 2034

The overwhelming majority of Burundi voters (73%) approved a new constitution, the country’s electoral commission said on Monday (21/05/2018), ushering in changes that could let the president stay in power to 2034.

Already ahead of the vote a number of independent experts have expressed concerns about a possibility for President Pierre Nkurunziza to become an ‘eternal’ leader of the nation

Last week’s referendum asked voters to say “yes” or “no” to amendments extending the presidential term from five to seven years and allowing President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek two more terms beginning in 2020.

EU supports Chad inclusive political dialogue

“A new Constitution has been promulgated in Chad. The process leading to its adoption has not been conducted in a sufficiently inclusive manner as required by by such a fundamental issue”, according to the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

However, a call for the revival of the national framework of political dialogue, launched to organize the dialogue within the Chadian society, was addressed by the President Deby during its promulgation, – the EEAS statement continues.

The European Union remains ready to support Chad for a genuine inclusive political dialogue taking place in this context, respecting fundamental freedoms, and offering all Chadians the opportunity to participate fully in the political, economic and social life of the country. It notes in this respect the opportunity created by the announcement of the holding of legislative elections and the recasting of the Electoral Commission, – the EEAS statement concludes.

New Constitution of Chad reinforces the powers of president. The National Assembly voted the draft Constitution by 132 votes in favor, 2 against. A strong police presence was visible around the National Assembly in N’Djamena, with the opposition and several civil society organizations calling for protests.