Benin Lawmakers Reject Call for Urgent Constitutional Review

Benin’s lawmakers rejected unanimously an application for parliament to urgently discuss a bill seeking changes to the country’s constitution, according to the National Assembly’s head, Adrien Houngbedji.

Adrien Houngbedji

Photographer: Pius Utoni Ekopei/AFP via Getty Images

The draft revision of the constitution will go through the normal procedure for reviewing laws, Houngbedji said Friday in the capital, Porto-Novo. As soon as reports on the bill are ready, the national assembly’s Conference of Presidents will meet to set the date on which the file will be discussed in the house, he said.

President Patrice Talon submitted proposed constitutional amendments on March 15 that include a plan to limit the mandate of the head of state to a single, six-year term. The changes will become law if approved by 80 percent of the National Assembly’s 83 members. A referendum has to be organized if two-thirds of the members approve it. The West African country’s National Union of Magistrates have challenged the bill, saying it will weaken the judiciary and undermine democracy.