Mali to introduce a senate chamber in its constitution

By Reuters, 13 March
Mali's government proposed a bill on Friday to establish a new Senate chamber as part of a shake up of its constitution designed to reinforce democracy in the West African country, according to a government statement. The body will be one of eight key institutions of state that include the president, government, national assembly and supreme court, the government said after an extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers headed by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. "The draft law gives the president of the republic the responsibility to determine the policy of the nation and the right to appoint the prime minister and to terminate his functions without the need for him to resign," it said. "It creates a parliament consisting of two chambers: the national assembly and the Senate," it said. The bill must be passed by the national assembly before it becomes law. Security in Mali is bolstered by a deployment of French troops and a U.N. peacekeeping mission but despite this and years of peace talks, the country faces problems of banditry, unrest and Islamist militancy. Keita was sworn in to a five-year term as president after a multi-party election in 2013.

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