Lawmakers in Algeria have unanimously adopted draft constitutional reforms aimed at boosting democratic rules in the country.
The reforms, an initiative of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, follows months of street protests by the country’s Hirak movement.
The amendments, which grant more powers to the parliament and the prime minister, will be put up for a referendum on November 1, the anniversary of the start of Algeria’s 1954-1962 war of independence from France.
It also sets out to reinforce the “principle of separation of powers, ethics in political life and transparency in the management of public funds”, so as to “spare the country any drift toward tyrannical despotism”, it added.
By a show of hands on Thursday, the amended constitution was approved by 256 of the 462 members present in the People’s National Assembly, said speaker Slimane Chenine.
Parliament Speaker Slimane Chenine said on Thursday that the draft changes respond to the “requirements of the new republic” and the demands of the popular protest movement.
In February 2019, street protests erupted against then-president, Abdulaziz Bouteflika.
In April, Bouteflika resigned under pressure from protests and the powerful military. Since his resignation, the judiciary has handed down heavy prison sentences to former officials and influential businessmen once close to him, mostly on charges of corruption or nepotism.
In December, Abdelmadjid Tebboune took office as Algeria’s president.
He has repeatedly pledged to introduce drastic political and economic reforms in the North African country.
Nigerian Leader, Ex-President Meet On Mali Crisis
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, said Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may meet again to discuss outstanding grey areas in the Mali political situation.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, in a statement, said Buhari stated this after receiving briefing at the State House, Abuja, from ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, former Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
Mali has appointed a civilian as Interim President who will stay in office for 18 months and lead the country back to constitutional order, after the military had taken over power in the country.
That was part of irreducible demands by West African leaders before sanctions imposed on the country could be lifted.
However, according to the special envoy, the military leaders have yet to satisfy ECOWAS demand of a full civilian as Vice President, and what his roles would be in government.
“That position is currently being held by a serving military officer who was also one of the leaders of the take-over,’’ Jonathan observed.
Buhari counseled the special envoy to present a formal report to the new ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, “who will write us officially, and we will then determine the next steps.”
The president said with about two-thirds of Mali currently under occupation by terrorists, “the priority of the military should be to secure their country,” rather than hold on to power.
Togo Appoints First Woman Prime Minister
President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo has named Victoire Tomegah-Dogbe as prime minister, becoming the first woman to hold the position in the West African nation.
Tomegah-Dogbe replaces Komi Selom Klassou whose government resigned on Friday.
Tomegah-Dogbe, 60, has held several ministerial positions since 2008, including recently that of development minister, and also chief of staff of the president’s office.
The change in Togo’s government had been expected since Gnassingbe won re-election in March, extending his 15-year rule and a family dynasty that began when his father took power in a 1967 coup.
Ahead of the February election, a fractured opposition struggled to launch a concerted campaign to unseat Gnassingbe despite widespread disaffection with his leadership of the small West African country of 8 million people.
Tomegah-Dogbe was the Minister of Grassroots Development, Handicrafts, Youth and Youth Employment in the Komi Selom Klassou Government and Cabinet Director of President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe.
In 2008, while she was at UNDP in Benin, Gnassingbe and the then Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo appealed to Victoire Dogbé Tomégah to occupy the portfolio of the Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister in charge of development at the base which had just been created in Togo.
In 2010, following the re-election of President Faure Gnassingbe, she was appointed Minister of Grassroots Development, Youth Craft and Youth Employment in Gilbert Houngbo’s Second Government.
She retained her ministerial functions in the government Ahoumey Zunu I from 2012 to 2013 and the government Ahoumey Zunu II from 2013 to 2015. After the presidential election of April 2015, Komi Selom Klassou replaced Artheme Ahoomey-Zunu at the prime minister on 5 June 2015. It formed the first Klassou Government on June 28, 2015 in which Dogbé still retained the Ministry of Development at the Base, crafts, youth and youth employment.
Tanzania’s NEC Summoms Chadema Candidate Over Rigging Claim
Tundu Lissu, the presidential candidate of Tanzania’s Party for Democracy and Progress (Chadema), has been summoned by the National Electoral Commission’s ethics committee over after he alleged that President John Magufuli planned to rig October’s election.
Lissu had alleged that Magufuli had convened a meeting with Returning Officers from District Councils to Dodoma to discuss rigging October’s election.
Chadema is the main opposition party in Tanzania.
The Director of Election, Dr Charles Mahera, said the allegation was meant to paint a picture that the poll would not be conducted in a free and fair atmosphere.
The registrar of political parties has also written a letter to Mr Lissu’s Chadema party, saying his remarks posed a threat to national security.
District executive directors are required by law to act as constituency returning officers during the election. The government has denied Mr Lissu’s allegation.
The director said preparations for the election are going on well and it is after voting, counting and tallying of ballots that NEC will announce the results.
“The Commission has been facing some challenges from some presidential candidates especially Mr Tundu Lissu of Chadema who go against the law …issues untrue statements causing fear.
By saying that the Commission will steal his votes, Mr Lissu seeks to threaten it so that it does not do its duties with freedom. It will not go against the law,” said Dr Mahera.
He denied Mr Lissu’s allegations that President Magufuli summoned and met with the elections director and returning officers in Dodoma. Mr Lissu issued the statements, while campaigning in Mara Region.
Dr Mahera warned journalists and media houses on acts of tending to announce results, such as those pushed by Mr Lissu and other people.
He said they will face the wrath from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and the agencies that regulate the media.
NEC has so far completed appointment of all candidates after sorting out all objections put against some. It has also completed the permanent voters’ register with 29, 183-347 voters, who will cast their ballots at 80,155 voting centres.
The Commission is now going on with awareness raising campaigns in its electorates population and preparing officers, who will preside over the centres. The General Election will be held on October 28 this year.
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