Debates, Controversies and New Developments

Themes & Issues by Country

Debates, Controversies and New Developments

Burkina Faso

In the 1990s, most new democratic regimes in Africa provided their constitutions with the principle of term limits, in an attempt to guarantee the fundamental principle of political change. In Burkina Faso, the Constitution provided that a presidential term of seven (7) years was renewable only once. This principle has been subject to various changes because of the political situation of the country. In 1997, enjoying an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly, the ruling party initiated a procedure to amend the constitution so that the inalterability of term limits as provided in Article 37 of the Constitution was removed. Following this initiative, Burkina Faso experienced a socio-political crisis in 1998 as a result of the assassination of the prominent journalist Norbert Zongo and three of his companions…

Chad

There are several issues up for debate between Chad’s political leaders. These include among others: the need to establish a framework for political dialogue, the enforcement of the law granting an official status to the opposition, the introduction of a biometric voter registration system, the demilitarization of public administration, and the promotion of social dialogue.Since the last elections, the need to create a political framework conducive to dialogue has been a focus of political leaders. This framework would replace the Committee for the monitoring of the August 13, 2007 Political Dialogue whose mandate will soon come to an end…

Mali

Mali experienced a political transition following the 2012 military coup that interrupted the democratic governance initiated in 1991. The mandates given to the authorities in charge of the subsequent transition were first to restore Mali’s territorial sovereignty by liberating the northern regions, and second, the organization of transparent and credible elections. The first mission began with military operations in the northern regions during January 2013. The second objective took place with the first round of presidential elections on July 28, 2013 and a second round run-off held August 11, 2013. However, the region of Kidal remains predominantly controlled by armed groups and all negotiations and mediations have failed between these groups and the new government so far…

Mauritania

The main focus of the political debate is on the electoral census based on civil records, which was initiated by Mauritanian authorities in 2011 to provide people with secure birth, marriage, and death certificate documents. Some groups such as the “Don’t Touch My Nationality” movement believe that it is a discriminatory move which aims at excluding some segments of the population—especially people of black African origin. This situation caused people to protest in a number of cities across the country. Some political parties and civil society organizations demand justice and equality in the conduct of the civil records-based census, as well as a reorganization of civil records services and, above all, a change of those who occupy leadership positions in these institutions…

Niger

In Niger, there are several debates on concerning the conduct of elections. Generally, these debates reveal the deficiencies of the electoral code, which in theory, is supposed to take into account recent changes at the social level (e.g., the evolution of the population and Niger’s citizens living abroad), the political level (e.g., the funding of political parties, the rejection of party lists of candidates in legislative elections, etc.), and the administrative level (e.g., the rise from 36 to 63 in the number of Niger’s administrative departments)…

Senegal

The year 2012 was an electoral year in Senegal, with the presidential elections held in February-March and the legislative ones in July. In the wake of these elections, which were well-organized and resulted in democratic changes in the executive and the National Assembly, debates are being conducted about way and means to improve the electoral process. In this debate some major questions can be identified…

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