Central African Republic’s top court has annulled a commission for constitutional reforms in a blow to President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s push for the removal of term limits so he can keep running for office, the court’s president said on Friday.
The Central African Republic’s Constitutional Court on Friday ruled that a commission for constitutional reforms set up recently is “unconstitutional,” dealing the first blow to President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s bid to get through legislation allowing him to run for a third term.
Last month, Touadera formed the body to draft a new Constitution of the Central African Republic.
But following a petition filed before the court by civil society group Bloc for the Defense of the Constitution, the court in the capital Bangui ruled that the “decree was not in compliance with the country’s constitution.”
“The presidential decree establishing the committee responsible for drafting the new constitution and designating members of the committee are unconstitutional and are annulled,” Constitutional Court president Daniele Darlan said, adding that the court’s decision cannot be appealed.
Allies of Touadera had proposed in May amendments to the Constitution to remove term limits, prompting protests from the opposition.
Proponents of the constitutional change claimed it would bring the country into line with many of its neighbors.
The Central African country has been embroiled in conflict since 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted then-President Francois Bozize, prompting reprisals from mostly Christian militias.
Touadera, 65, was elected in 2016 in a vote that followed a civil war.
The presidential election in December 2020 was the first following the signing of a peace agreement in February 2019 between the government and 14 armed groups. But the vote, which saw Archange Touadera re-elected, was followed by violence.
In recent years, African countries that have changed constitutions to allow presidents stay in office include Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo Republic and Ivory Coast.