Adoption of rules of procedure in National Assembly arouses controversy

The National Assembly adopted on June 19 the new rules of procedure in order to comply with the new Constitution that was recently promulgated by the Burundian President. The session was held in a tense atmosphere.

MPs during the session to adopt the rules of procedure of the National Assembly

MPs during the session to adopt the rules of procedure of the National Assembly

MPs from Amizero y’Abarundi opposition coalition denounced “an intention of exclusion” embodied in the proposed amendments

Article 19 of the rules of procedure of the National Assembly stipulates that “the office of the National Assembly includes the speaker and two deputy-speakers and must be multi-party”

The commission responsible for analyzing the draft rules of procedure had suggested two amendments. The number of deputy-speakers was no longer accurate. Moreover, the multiparty principle was not considered and members of the commission deleted the sentence ‘The National Assembly office must be multi-party’ ‘arguing that they want to comply with the new Constitution.

“These amendments must have ulterior motives,” said Pierre Celestin Ndikumana, chairman of the parliamentary group of the opposition coalition “Amizero y’Abarundi”. For him, those amendments “target the elected institutions and are contrary to the spirit and letter of Article 288 of the Constitution of 7 June 2018,” said Ndikumana. He blamed the commission of providing ulterior motives. “If we do not keep this multiparty system, I’ll leave the National Assembly because it will be a total exclusion,” said angrily MP Ndikumana.

MP Daniel Gélase Ndabirabe encouraged the commission. “This debate is not necessary,” he said adding that the Constitution does not recognize the coalitions of independent politicians. “Today, we are adapting our rules to the current Constitution. We cannot do it by halves,” he said.

Agathon Rwasa, First Deputy- Speaker of the National Assembly, said the office of the National Assembly was set up for the 2015-2020 legislature. For him, elected MPs would be replaced after their term expires in 2020.

Zénon Ndaruvukanye, chairman of the commission, rejects the accusations against the commission that it has the logic of excluding some MPs. “We have no intention of excluding the first deputy-speaker form the office of the National Assembly,” he said arguing that he would remain an MP even if he left the office. He also referred to a misinterpretation of Article 288 of the new Constitution.

To conclude the debate, Pascal Nyabenda rejected the amendments that created controversy and the rules of procedure were adopted.

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