The draft law reforming the Constitution of Gabon was adopted by an overwhelming majority of parliamentarians on Tuesday 29 December 2020. The project was introduced by the President of the Gabonese Republic Ali Bongo Ondimba on 15 December 2020. It concerns the amendment of Article 13 of the Constitution on the interim of the President of the Republic in the event of temporary unavailability, and Article 78 which now gives the Head of State immunity for life.
The majority of MEPs said “yes” to the bill amending Articles 13 and 78 of the Gabonese Constitution. Of the 229 MPs present, 204 were in favour of Ali Bongo Ondimba’s proposal without changing any details, and 25 voted “against”.
The government welcomes the sense of responsibility of members of Parliament who have understood the scope of the reforms.Now, with this bill adopted unanimously, in case of temporary unavailability of the Head of State, the interim of the President of the Republic is ensured by the President of the Senate, that of the National Assembly and the Minister of Defence. In the same way, the President of the Republic enjoys immunity for life, which presupposes that he could not be the subject of legal proceedings regardless of the wrongs committed during the performance of his duties.
The opposition finds these reforms inappropriate, underhanded, and sees them as a real democratic setback.