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Gabon: Adoption of the Transition Charter to Restore Democracy

In a significant development for the Republic of Gabon, the Transition Charter, aimed at guiding the country through a period of political transformation, has been officially adopted. This charter comes into effect immediately following its approval by the nation's stakeholders.

The group of militaries who led the coup that overthrew the President Ali Bongo in August 30th. Picture: screenshot from a video

This charter signed on September 2 was developed by the Committee for Transition and the Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), which assumed control of the country on August 30, 2023, ending the rule of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. This committee is composed of senior officers from the defense and security forces.

The Transition Charter is composed of 62 articles. Among its key points are the rebuilding of the state, the preservation of national integrity and security, the fight against corruption, the preparation of a new constitution and free and transparent elections.

The Transition Charter provides for a transitional president, a national transition council, a transitional government, a transitional parliament, and a transitional constitutional court.

In case of a conflict between this charter and the 1991 constitution, the provisions of the charter will prevail, with the transitional constitutional court having the authority to settle disputes.

Gabon's Transition Charter: Key Provisions and Implications

Key Figures and Changes

1. Immunity for Transition Leaders: The Transition Charter grants immunity to all members of the Committee for the Transition and the Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), as well as those involved in the events from August 29, 2023, until the inauguration of the Transition President. This means that individuals cannot be prosecuted or arrested for actions taken during this period. An amnesty law will be enacted to formalize this immunity.

2. Transition Leadership: The CTRI, led by General de Brigade Brice Clotaire OLIGUI NGUEMA, and other high-ranking officials will oversee the transition process.

3. Transition Timeline: The Transition Charter outlines that the mandate of the Transition President, who also serves as the Minister of Defense and Security, concludes upon the inauguration of the President elected through a future presidential election.

4. Eligibility Criteria for Transition Leadership: Candidates aspiring to assume the role of Transition President must meet specific criteria, including being a Gabonese national by origin, aged between 35 and 70 years, having a reputation for integrity, and not having a criminal record for serious offenses.

5. Gender and Representation: The composition of various transition organs will take gender into account, aiming for gender inclusivity.

Transition Organs

6. President of the Transition: General de Brigade Brice Clotaire OLIGUI NGUEMA is chosen as the head of the Transition government, overseeing the nation's transition to a new political era. The President of the Transition also serves as the Minister of Defense and Security.

7. Vice-President of the Transition: The President may appoint a Vice-President to assist in the transition process, but the Vice-President is ineligible to run for the presidency in the subsequent election.

8. Government of the Transition: The Transition President appoints members of the Transition Government, who are directly accountable to the President. These individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria, including moral integrity and relevant competencies.

9. Parliament of the Transition: The Transition Parliament comprises two chambers: the National Assembly of the Transition and the Senate of the Transition. The National Assembly is composed of 50 members from political organizations and 20 high-ranking national figures. The Senate includes representatives from various sectors, such as business, labor unions, civil society, religious denominations, and traditional organizations. Members of the Senate must be at least 50 years old.

10. Constitutional Court of the Transition: The Constitutional Court of the Transition, led by the President of the Court, ensures the legality of legislative and regulatory acts enacted by Transition organs. It also resolves disputes related to referendums and the adoption of legal instruments.

Transition Implementation

11. Effective Date: The Transition Charter takes effect immediately upon approval by Gabon's stakeholders.

12. Conflicts with Existing Constitution: In case of conflicts between the Transition Charter and the 1991 Constitution, the Transition Charter's provisions will prevail, with the Constitutional Court of the Transition responsible for adjudicating disputes.

Revision of the Transition Charter

13. Charter Revision: The Charter can be revised by the Transition President and one-third of the members of the Transition Parliament. A revision must secure the approval of at least four-fifths of the Transition Parliament members, and the Transition President is responsible for promulgating any revised Charter.

This Transition Charter is not clear about the candidacy of the President of the Transition, General Brice Oligui Nguema at the presidential election, nor does it set a transitional period date.

Download the Transition Charter (FR).

Download PDF • 132KB

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