Op-ed: The Gambia's president faces challenge to constitutional reform process after his party fails to win majority in legislative elections
By 19 May 2022
President Adama Barrow of the Gambia (photo credit: Paul Kagame / flickr)
Despite Adama Barrow’s comfortable win in December’s presidential elections, his party failed to clinch a convincing majority in recent National Assembly polls. [...] Without a convincing majority in the National Assembly, the president is five seats short of the votes he needs for a quorum to pass ordinary bills. He also lacks the three-quarters majority required to make constitutional amendments. Party support in the National Assembly will be critical to Barrow’s handling of stalled constitutional reform that has remained unresolved since his first term. [...]
The Gambia’s constitutional review process was halted in September 2020 when the National Assembly rejected the draft constitution that would have replaced the 1997 constitution. Notably, the draft contained a new clause limiting a president to two terms, whereas Barrow can run for another term under the current constitution.
If a new constitution is adopted or the current one amended, Barrow may try to ensure that the term limits are not applied retrospectively, and executive powers are not severely curtailed. Barrow has promised The Gambia a new constitution with term limits but remains tight-lipped on whether he would stand for another term.
Even if Barrow can get the APRC and independent legislators to back him, he would still need at least one vote from the UDP to get the required tally. This suggests he is unlikely to garner the support to ensure constitutional provisions in his favour.
Read the full article here: Institute for Security Studies