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Constitutionalism and Presidential Term Limits: Effects on D

Constitutionalism and Presidential Term Limits: Effects on Democracy, Governance, and Security in Africa 
Thursday, December 17, 2020 | 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Program Fee:

Free for Members | $15 for Non-Members | Free for Non-Lawyers
Non-Lawyers please call Customer Relations at 212-382-6663 to register.

Please Note: All attendees will receive an email confirmation including a zoom invite two hours prior to the program with details of how to access the webinar.

During the 1990s, with a wind of democratization blowing in Africa, several countries inserted term limits in their constitutions. These provisions enjoyed popular support and were widely seen as a means of establishing institutional, instead of personal, power. 

As the limits have approached their expirations, however, there have been attempts in several countries to eliminate or skirt these constitutional limitations. Incumbent presidents have used various tactics to extend their terms in office, including: (i) pushing through amendments to purportedly unamendable term-limit provisions of their national constitutions; and (ii) relying on captured courts to rubber-stamp arguments that additional terms were authorized by the national constitution. Both sets of tactics were on display in October 2020 elections in Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea. These tactics have prompted widespread protests in both countries, which have been repressed with force by incumbent regimes.

This panel will examine the pros and cons of presidential term limits in the African context, and the impact of recent developments on governance, security, and the rule of law in Africa.

Doris Toyou, Kirkland & Ellis, Co-Chair of African Affairs Committee

Dr. Dorina Bekoe, Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analyses
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa, National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Dr. Joseph Siegle, Director of Research, Africa Center
Jon Temin, Director of the Africa program, Freedom House

Sponsoring Committee:
African Affairs, Scott Caplan & Doris Toyou, Co-Chairs

Co-Sponsoring Committees:
Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director
Election Law, Katharine G. Loving, Chair
International Human Rights, Lauren Melkus, Chair

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