Central African Republic’s top court annuls constitution reforms commission

Central African Republic’s President Faustin Archange Touadera addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S.

Central African Republic’s top court has annulled a commission for constitutional reforms in a blow to President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s push for the removal of term limits so he can keep running for office, the court’s president said on Friday.

Allies of Touadera proposed in May that the constitution be changed to remove presidential term limits, arguing that they were uncommon amongst most neighbouring countries.

Several other African presidents, including in Rwanda, Congo Republic, Ivory Coast and Guinea, have pushed through constitutional and other legal changes in recent years to allow themselves to stay in office.

Last week, Touadera installed a commission to draft the proposed changes. He had previously proposed amending the constitution to allow himself and other lawmakers to remain in office if elections are ever delayed.

“The presidential decrees establishing the committee responsible for drafting the new constitution and designating members of the committee are unconstitutional and are annulled,” Constitutional Court president Daniele Darlan said in the ruling.

The court said its decision cannot be appealed.

While opposition political parties welcomed the ruling, parties allied to Touadera planned protests.

Heritier Doneng, a leader of the Republican Front movement that backs a constitutional revision, said the decision was “treason against the will of the sovereign people.”

Touadera was elected in 2016 in a vote that followed a civil war unleashed by the overthrow three years earlier of former President Francois Bozize. He was re-elected in 2020 amid an offensive by rebel groups, including those backing Bozize, that briefly threatened the capital Bangui.

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