The Cameroon government has tabled a bill in parliament seeking to extend the life of the National Assembly (the Lower House of Parliament) by 12 months from next October.
National Assembly Speaker Cavaye Yegui Djiril on Tuesday announced that the bill had been served and would be examined by the Constitutional Laws Committee.
The bill will be defended by Mr Amadou Ali, the vice Prime Minister and minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of relations with assemblies.
It has been drafted in accordance with Section 15 (4) of the constitution, which provides that “in case of serious crisis or where circumstances so warrant, the President of the Republic may, after consultation with the President of the Constitutional Council and Bureaux of the National Assembly and the Senate, request the National Assembly to decide, by law, to extend or abridge its term of office.”
Cameroonian MPs are known to disregard party affiliations in pursuit of their own interests.
In 2012, they wasted little time and effort in pushing through a similar law and pundits were already foreseeing a hitch-free adoption of the bill.
The terms of office of the president, Members of the National Assembly and municipal councillors end between October and November and according to the government, the holding of three elections almost at the same time “will lead to an overlapping of the different polling operations”.
The extension of the mandate of the MPs, says the draft legal document, is therefore “to avoid muddling up the electoral operations which, in technical and operational terms, could affect the fairness of the abovementioned elections and to ensure a more serene organisation”.
The current mandate of the 180 MPs was due to expire on October 29, 2018, having been elected (some re-elected) in 2013 for a five-year term of office.
Should the bill be adopted without any objection as expected, the president of the republic would by decree extend the term of office of municipal councillors who were elected during the twin legislative and municipal polls of 2013.