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Mali: The Draft Constitutional Review; A Polemical Text


The two parliamentary groups of the Malian opposition, ADP-Maliba-Sadi and VRD, together hosted a press conference on Thursday June, 8 at the Maison de la Presse to explain why their 35 members of parliament voted against the draft constitutional revision adopted on June 3 by the National Assembly.

Present at the meeting, the Honorable Soumaïla Cissé, leader of the opposition, told the press on the sidelines of the meeting there are legitimate reasons why the 35 members of the parliamentary groups voted “no” to the draft text on the constitutional revision. The first of these reasons, he said, concerns article 118 of the present Constitution, which calls into question any intention to revise the Constitution when the integrity of the national territory is undermined.

“The country is in a quasi-general insecurity, the lack of state sovereignty is in most parts of the north. In the same town of Gao, we find the governor and sub-prefects of Gao and those of Kidal. The state is not sovereign and the integrity of the country is at stake, “said the elected representative of Niafounké.

The second reason, explained the Honorable Soumaïla Cissé, is that during the conference of national consensus earlier this year, it was agreed that a charter must be drawn up which will certainly impact on the Constitution: “What prevents us from waiting a little to see the content of the charter in order to amend the Constitution”, Cissé continued.

“The essence of the revision is to bring about more decentralization, to transfer powers to different communities. Now, what do we see? It is the President of the Republic himself who assumes additional powers. The president will appoint the president of the constitutional court, he will appoint senators and the president assumes the power to amend the constitution without a referendum, “he denounced.

”Amend the Constitution without a referendum? ”

The article of the draft constitution that offers this possibility, does not concern the duration of the mandates of the President of the Republic and the deputies. In the draft text, a referendum would have to be made to change them (not the duration of the mandates of the President of the Republic and the deputies),

The Honorable Soumaïla Cissé has another vision of this process of constitutional review: “The president assumes the power to amend the Constitution without a referendum, but because it is called to a congress, a meeting which will concern a maximum of 300 people (147 deputies and 150 Senators) who will deliberate on behalf of the State. This means that the President, at the turn of this referendum, will be able to convene the congress and to put in the Constitution everything that has been refused by the deputies and which will not be subject to the sanction of the whole people, there.

According to the leader of the opposition, these are elements proposed to the Malians, and it is not a Constitution that leads to progress. “It is a Constitution for a consecution, we should go back and have a broader discussion.”

Isn’t the Senate one institution too much?

Faced with the press, the MP has also promised a fierce fight against this draft text: “We will fight, advise the civil society, seize the constitutional court, so that this Constitution is not applied in the Republic of Mali. It brings us to nothing, it leads to the division of the country, to misunderstanding, “he said.

The Honorable Mody N’Diaye, Chairman of the VRD Parliamentary Group, said that the logic would be for the President of the Republic to withdraw this document first, while waiting for the security situation to improve. “Partially organize a referendum, it is no longer a referendum,” he told the conference he co-hosted with other members of the parliamentary group “ADP-Maliba- Sadi”.
For these opposition MPs, the creation of the Senate should not pose a problem, as is the case in public opinion. “It is the high council of communities that will be transformed into the Senate, it is not an institution too much, neither on the budgetary nor on the institutional level, what is problematic is the fact that there will be two types of senators, a first type that will be appointed and the other elected, ” they said during this press conference.

At a time when this conference was held at the Maison de le Presse to denounce the draft Constitution, at the Bamako Labor Exchange, police prevented a demonstration against the same text. Protesters promised to return to the street as of Saturday, June 10 to say ” No ” to the draft constitutional amendment.

Source: The Challenger (Modibo Fofana)