Wednesday, August 3, 2016

More constitutional changes underway in ECOWAS countries

While I was writing up the post about Burkina Faso's constitution-writing process, I came across this nice post about other constitutional reforms under discussion in ECOWAS countries.

Some highlights:

  • Cote d'Ivoire, like Burkina Faso, is working on a new constitution. The current constitution requires presidential candidates to have two native-born Ivorian parents, a requirement the current president does not satisfy (a law was passed changing the rule, but it was never ratified in the constitution). As in Burkina Faso, some opposition members complain the process is being rushed.
  • Mali is working on "incorporat(ing) provisions of the 2015 Algiers peace accord signed between the government of Mali and former rebel groups"
  • Senegal shortened the presidential term from 7 to 5 years and clarified the two-term limit
  • Benin, going in the other direction, is considering lengthening the presidential term from 5 to 6 or 7 years, and reducing the term limit from two to one. 
More on Benin:
  • The 35-member commission "unanimously recommends that the president should no longer appoint Bénin’s chief justice, the chair of the superior council of judges .., and the chair of the national audio-visual authority"
  • "It also proposes to augment the number of justices serving on Bénin’s constitutional court from seven to nine, extend their mandate from five to nine years, and to limit the number of justices appointed by the president to one, as opposed to currently three."
  • "However, the commission was unable to reach consensus on proposed changes to the presidential term limit"
  • "President Talon has announced he intends to put the question in front of the Béninese people via referendum before the end of the year. But his proposition may have encountered a sizeable obstacle: Bénin’s constitutional court ruled in October 2011 that presidential term limits could not be changed by way of referendum."

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