Op-Ed: Could limits on presidential power in Guinea's new constitution promote political stability?
By 13 October 2023
Flag of Guinea (photo credit: jorono via pixabay)
Two years ago, military officers overthrew president Alpha Condé’s regime on 5 September 2021 — less than a year after he started his controversial third term. In December 2022, Guinea’s transitional authorities and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) agreed on a two-year roadmap for returning the country to civilian rule.
The 10-point roadmap includes developing a new constitution and adopting it through a popular referendum. These two steps will define several other elements of the transition, including the constitution’s organic laws and the holding of local, legislative and presidential elections. The draft constitution was scheduled for adoption by the National Transitional Council by the end of June, but that deadline was missed. One reason for the delay may relate to funding. [...] Nevertheless, with enough political will and action by those in charge, there is still enough time to complete the constitution’s drafting ahead of the December referendum. One cause for optimism is that the National Transitional Council has organised several consultations on the constitution across the country, along with two constitutional orientation symposiums in March and April. Political parties, civil society organisations, lawyers, religious bodies and the military have submitted written inputs on several parts of the new constitution. [...] Several inputs insisted on mechanisms for checks and balances. Most called for the presidential system to remain (rather than a parliamentary regime), with some moderation in the president’s powers. [...] A key feature in various submissions was the need to limit a president’s time in office to a maximum of two five-year terms. [...] The inclusivity of the new constitution’s consultation and drafting processes will be key in determining its legitimacy well after the transition has ended. But the real test is still to come — the commitment of post-transition leaders to the constitution and its provisions. This will be the surest guarantee for its sustainability and internalisation by Guineans.
Read the full article here: Daily Maverick