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Monday, March 1, 2021

Cabinet asked CRC to make president’s appearance at assembly optional

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By Alagie Manneh

President Barrow’s cabinet had recommended that the Constitutional Review Commission replace a clause in the draft constitution which makes it mandatory for the president to appear before lawmakers each year.

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According to section 87, the president shall at the commencement of each year, but in any case, not later than the end of April, attend and address the National Assembly.
Section 89 (5) also empowers the National Assembly, after an address of the Assembly by the President, hold a debate on the address and, for that purpose, the president may, or if he or she so designates the Vice President shall, attend and answer any matter or question relating to the President’s address.

However, in their observation to this in a paper seen by The Standard, Barrow’s Cabinet stated: “The Government is of the view that ‘a matter of national importance’ can be subjective and that the current draft provision which makes the President’s attendance at the National Assembly mandatory can be subject to abuse based on partisan political considerations.”

Cabinet further said the president should have a discretion to either attend in person or through a representative depending on the nature of the matter.

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