Cameroon – Constitutional amendment

In his farewell address as Russian president, rather than his inaugural address as prime minister, Vladimir Putin emphasised that, as promised, he had obeyed the constitution and stepped down as president after his two-term limit and that he had not tried to change the constitution to abolish the term limit.

The same cannot be said of President Paul Biya in Cameroon. Biya has been president since 1984. In 1996 Cameroon amended its 1972 constitution. (The 1996 version can be found here in English). Article 6 (2) states that the president is elected for a seven-year term and is eligible for re-election once. Since this amendment, Biya has won two presidential elections – in 1997 and 2004. Therefore, he was term-limited.

In April President Biya proposed a series of amendments that included the abolition of the two-term limit. This means that the president, who is now 75, has the opportunity to remain in office for life or until he decides to step down. The chances of him being defeated in the election are slim. In 1997 he won 92.6 per cent when a number of parties boycotted the poll. In 2004 he won 70.9 per cent.

The text of the constitutional amendment can be found in French on Stéphane Bolle’s excellent La Constitution en Afrique blog.

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