Ibrahim Salami, Associate Professor of Law at Abomey-Calavi University in Benin photo: Google

In 2026, according to the new wording of Act No. 2019-40 revising Act No. 90-032 of 11th December 1990 on the constitution of the Republic of Benin, Benin will have general elections in 2026. An option that, according to Professor Ibrahim Salami, would strengthen the executive’s control over parliament.

The professor of public law, Ibrahim salami, is the guest of Soleil fm’s “Without wooden tongue” program on Sunday 10th  November 2019. In his capacity as a knowing party, he is called upon to provide his opinion on the main points included in Act No. 2019-40 revising Act No. 90-032 of 11th December 1990 on the Constitution of the Republic of Benin. According to the constitutionalist, the organization of general elections can strengthen the executive’s control over parliament. “The political system we adopted in 1990, is a presidential system but the political life of the institutions, president of the republic, parliament are not connected, their political existence are not connected, so that even without having a majority in parliament, the head of state can govern,” he said.

According to him, the political regime as thought in 1990 was designed so that the head of state would not control the parliament. “Look at the vote system that has been chosen for the National Assembly. It is a system that scatters political forces. We didn’t choose a majority mode. The majority system would have allowed a head of state to have an easy majority and control the parliament,” he said. The fact that a proportional representation mode has been chosen in an integral multi-party system, he continues, is a “thoughtful and assumed choice” that parliament should serve as a counter-power. “So we didn’t think things in such a way that we don’t have a strong executive, a strong parliament too, but one that can stand up to the executive power,” he justifies.

For him, this mode of interdependence between institutions is starting with the amendment of the Basic Law. “When we have coupled elections, there is a better chance of having a parliament that is of the same obedience as the head of state. And in this context, parliament will be controlled by the executive branch. We will have to deal with a regime that strengthens the power of the head of state,” he said.

This is all the more so as the executive is involved in the appointment of most members of the institutions. “When you have an office of the national assembly that has the same obedience as the head of state, all those appointed will reflect the obedience of the head of state and this will only strengthen the power of the executive,” he concluded.

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