Understanding the constitutional status

What does the Constitution say? Article 55(1) – “Where the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the Vice-President shall assume the office of President for the unexpired term of the President with effect from the death, resignation or removal from office of the President”

James Michel announced his resignation from Office of President on 27 September 2016 to take effect on 16 October 2016. He also announced that Danny Faure will run the country as President for the unexpired term of his presidency.

Article 66 (11) – “Where the Vice-President assumes the office of the President under article 55 (1)

(a) The (new) President shall, with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint a person to be Vice-President;

 (b) The person who at the time is designated Minister shall immediately cease to be designated Minister and the (new) President shall designate a person, who may be the first-mentioned person, for approval by the National Assembly as designated Minister.”

The out-going President cannot dissolve the National Assembly because article 55 (3)(b) specifically removes the power to do so.

Article 66 (11) states: “The President shall, (mandatory) with the approval of the National Assembly…,” which means that the approval of the National Assembly must come before the appointment. So, if the National Assembly does not approve there can be no appointment.

So what happens next? Mr Faure can break the Check Mate situation by.

(1) Appointing as his Vice-President someone from the Opposition who is presently  an MNA, because under article 66A (5) “A person who is a member of the National Assembly or the Judiciary shall upon becoming Vice-President cease to be a member of the National Assembly or Judiciary.”

(2) Appointing as his Vice-President someone from the Opposition who is not an MNA.

(3) Resigning as President to leave the task of organizing fresh presidential polls to the Electoral Commission.

Article 66A (4) says “a candidate at an election for President shall designate a person as the candidate’s Vice-President” and if elected the candidate’s designated vice-presidential candidate becomes Vice-President.

Act 7 of 2000 allows the President to go back to the people for a fresh mandate before the expiration of the presidential term. And holding an election could mean getting around the need for the National Assembly’s approval of his Vice-President.

Except that Article 52A (2) states: “The President may, at any time after the expiration of one year from the commencement of the President’s first or second term of office, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, declare the President’s intention of appealing to the People for a mandate to hold office, by election for a further term.”

This means that even if Danny Faure wanted to call for new elections, the above amendment forbids him from doing so until after the expiration of one year of the Presidential term.

Independent

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