Gambia: The 1997 and Draft Constitutions On Filling of Vacancy in the Office of the President

Section 65 of the 1997 Constitution indicates that the office of President shall become vacant during the term of a presidency on the death or resignation of the President or on the President ceasing to hold office under section 66 or section 67.

Subsection (2) adds that "whenever the office of President becomes vacant in the circumstance set out in subsection (1), 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."

Clause 106 of draft Constitution however is proposing that when the office of President becomes vacant the Vice President will serve for 90 days to allow election to take place. If there is no Vice President, the Speaker will serve for 90 days to prepare for elections and if there is no Speaker the Chief Justice will serve for 90 days to allow room for elections to the office of President.

Gambians should compare the 1997 Constitution and the draft Constitution clause by clause to determine which is more suitable for a Republic. That is the task that has to be done. Knowledge instead of emotion is to guide our choices and actions.

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