12 December 2012

Cameroon: Parliament Adopts Landmark Bills

The Members of the National Assembly during the November 2012 ordinary session that ended on December 11, 2012, besides the 2013 Finance Law, also voted six other landmark bills that go to shape the life of the country. Some of them and the amendments therein are explained below.

Electoral Code Amendments

The President of the Republic, Paul Biya, will in the days ahead promulgate into law bill N° 918/PJL/AN to amend and supplement some provisions of Law N° 2012/1 of 19 April 2012 relating to the Electoral Code. Following the amendment of Section 166 of Law, the deposit to be jointly paid by each substantive candidate to the post of parliamentarian and his alternate which rose from FCFA 500,000 to FCFA 3,000,000, has been reduced to FCFA 1,000,000.

A fourth paragraph has also been added to Section 84 of the Electoral Code. The section talks about the distribution of voters cards that has to be 40 days before the polling day. Paragraph four that has been added states that, "However, in the event of the recompilation, the distribution of voters cards may be carried out once the cards are issued, where technically possible." The amended version of Section 230 of the Law states that, "In view of the election of senators, the electoral college shall be convened by the President of the Republic at least 45 days before the date of the poll." The amendment adjusts the time-frame specific to senatorial elections changing it from the original 90 days for convening of the electoral college to 45 days in accordance with the provisions of Section 86 (1), (3) and (4) of the Law.

Constitutional Council

The Bill N° 916/PJL/AN to amend Law N° 2004/4 of April 2004 to lay down the organisation and functioning of the Constitutional Council states in the amended Section seven (7) that the "Constitutional Council shall comprise of 11 members designated for a renewable term of office of six years." The members shall carry the title of "Adviser". The April 2004 Law provided that the Constitutional Council shall comprise of 11 members designated for a non- renewable term office of nine years.

Appointment of Council Members

The National Assembly also voted bill N° 917/PJL/AN to amend and supplement some provisions of Law N° 2004/5 of 21 April 2004 to lay down the rules and regulations governing membership of the Constitutional Council. Section nine of the 2004 law provided that members of the Council shall be entrenched and their term of office may neither be renewed nor revoked. The amendment to the Section states that members of the Constitutional Council shall be irremovable and their term of office is six years renewable.

Section 22 of the 2004 law stated that upon the expiry of the term of office, a members of the Constitutional Council so appointed may be appointed for a new term of nine years, where the member had served in replacement for a period of less than three years. The amended version of Section 22 states that, "In the event of death, resignation, permanent physical disability or removal from office of a member of the Constitutional Council, a new member shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of Article 51 (3) of the Constitution. A member so appointed shall serve the remainder of the term."

June 2012 Ordinance

Parliament voted Bill N° 919/PJL/AN to ratify ordinance N° 2012/1 of 28 June 2012 to amend and supplement some provisions of Law N° 2011/20 of 14 December 2011: Finance Law of the Republic of Cameroon for the 2012 Financial year. The President of the Republic signed the ordinance to raise the ceiling of government loans by FCFA 250 billion, increasing it from FCFA 200 billion to FCFA 450 billion. This was to enable the State, during the 2012 financial year, have a larger debt margin in order to finance development projects such as the Yaounde-Douala superhighway, government explained.

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