In another in a series of posts on countries that may (or may not) enter or exit semi-presidentialism, the details of the draft constitution in Niger are now publicly available.
The body that is tasked with drawing up of the new constitution, the Conseil consultatif national (National Consultative Committee – CCN), has just set up a website and the draft, in French, of the new constitution is available there.
The proposed constitution is clearly semi-presidential.
The president is directly elected (Art. 45). The PM is head of government (Art. 69). The government is collectively responsible to the National Assembly (Art. 73). The Assembly can table a vote of no-confidence that, if passed by a majority of deputies, results in the government’s automatic dismissal (Arts. 103 and 104). In addition, the president cannot dismiss the PM (Art. 55). So, there would be a premier-presidential form of semi-presidentialism.
Remarkably, there is also explicit reference to cohabitation. To my knowledge, this is the first constitution that has ever made reference to this term and that, therefore, has tried to regulate it. Here is a translation of Arts. 78 and 79:
Article 78 – When the presidential majority and the parliamentary majority do not match, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic on proposal of the majority in the National Assembly.
Article 79 – The President of the Republic appoints people to State posts on the proposal of the Government.
National defense and foreign affairs fields are shared between the President of the Republic and the Government. In the supreme interest of the nation, the ministers of national defense and foreign affairs are appointed by mutual agreement by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister.”
Usefully, for constitutional completists such as myself anyway, the CCN website also has scanned copies of the decrees that currently constitute the constitutional framework of the country following the coup in February. They can be downloaded.
The country is currently undergoing a period of constitutional reflection. Therefore, it is possible that there may be amendments to the draft constitution. However, my guess is that the fundamental elements that are relevant to this blog will not change. The referendum on the final draft is currently set for 31 October. I would be surprised if the draft constitution were not approved at the referendum. Therefore, Niger is likely to re-enter the semi-presidential fold at that point.