President Biya Extends Mandate of MPs, Councillors

Following consultations with the parliament and the government, President Paul Biya on Wednesday signed a decree extending the mandate of Municipal Councillors and Members of the National Assembly for the next twelve months beginning from October 15.

Shawn-Nathan EPANG

The President of the Republic, Paul Biya, has once again proven that he is a legalist and respecter of the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon. He has also proven to be a true democrat who is concerned with the fairness and credibility in the organisation of the different elections. Thus, the President of the Republic has used his constitutional prerogatives to extend the mandate of Municipal Councillors and Members of the National Assembly for a period twelve months beginning from 15 October, 2018.

President Paul Biya signed Decree No. 2018/406 of 11 July, 2018 prolonging the mandate of Councillors and MPs elected on September 30, 2013 and whose as of right-session was held on October 15, 2013. The Presidential act comes following consultations with the Bureau of the Senate, the National Assembly and the Government and after positive responses from the different heads of the various institutions consulted.

Meanwhile the government had earlier tabled the bill to extend the mandate of Members of the National Assembly for a period of twelve months. It was debated in plenary and adopted by the parliament thus giving President Paul Biya the leeway to extend the mandate of the elected officials. According to the bill that was scrutinised by the Constitutional Law Committee of the National Assembly, the extension of the mandate for Members of the National Assembly is expected to span for one year beginning November 2018 to November 2019.

A copy of the bill which we procured was drafted in pursuance of Section 15(4) of Law No 96/6 of 16 January 1996 to amend the Constitution of 2nd June 1972 which provides that:

“In case of serious crisis or where so circumstances warrant, the President of the Republic may, after Consultation with the President of the Constitutional Council and the Bureaux of the National Assembly and the Senate request the National Assembly to decide, by a law, to extend or abridge its mandate.”

Legislative and Municipal elections were supposed to hold between June and July given that mandates of the President of the Republic and that of Members of the National Assembly and Municipal councillors were supposed to end between 15 October and 3 November. Thus the holding of all three elections within this time frame will lead to an overlapping of the different polling operations which are strictly governed by Law No 2012/1 of 19 April 2012 to relating to the Electoral code, as amended and supplemented by Law No 2012/17 of 21 December 2012. To thus avoid such situations, the Head of State has used his constitutional prerogatives to extend the mandate of Municipal Councillors and Members of the National Assembly after due consultations as the Constitution stipulates.

The President who had received a positive feedback from his consultation with the President of the Constitutional Council, the President of the Senate and the National Assembly is also concerned with the logistics and preparations of the elections management body in organising two very important polls within a very short interval. His decision is saluted across the board especially by Members of the National Assembly and Councillors who say the President’s decision is timely considering the socio-political situation prevailing in some parts of the country with armed secessionist attacks in the North West and South West Regions still raging on.

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