Mali – Wording of constitutional reform now available

The text of the proposed constitutional reform has now been made available. It can be accessed in French here. The bill proposing the reform was approved by the Council of Ministers on 15 June. The National Assembly is due to receive the bill for debate later this week.

The reforms are substantial. For example, a new upper house, the Senate, is being created. In terms of semi-presidentialism, two features stand out.

The first is that Art. 29 now states that the president “defines the policy of the Republic”. Previously, this was the responsibility of the government.

The second is a change to Art. 38. This now reads: “The president names the prime minister and terminates his functions”. Previously, it read: “The president names the prime minister. He terminates his functions when the latter presents the resignation of the government”. In other words, this article has been reworded to give the president the implicit right to dismiss the prime minister. This would shift the system from a premier-presidential to a president-parliamentary form of semi-presidentialism, which would be a very unwelcome development.

Assuming the bill is approved, it will be put to a referendum next year.

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