Gambia: On The Resignation Of A President

Some people are contemplating the resignation of the president under the Gambian Constitution without advancing constitutional amendments. Under section 65 of the 1997 Constitution: when a President of the Gambia resigns, the Vice President will serve the rest of his/her term. Where there is no Vice President, the Speaker of the National Assembly will serve the rest of the term. Section 65 subsection (2) reads as follows:

"Whenever the office of President becomes vacant in the circumstance set out in subsection (1) [death, resignation of impeachment], the Vice-President, or if there is no Vice-President in office at the time, the Speaker shall assume the office of President for the residue of the term of the former President."

This type of provision makes the office of president very vulnerable. To ensure security of tenure of a President, constitutional amendments are needed to make the position electable after the occurrence of a vacancy through resignation or death. Hence there should be a constitutional amendment to section 65 subsection (2) by introducing the provision that calls for election to the office of president within 90 days of the occurrence of a vacancy.

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