National Assembly of Cameroon
The National Assembly is the parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 of Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

. It has 180 members, elected for five-year terms in 49 single and multi-seat constituencies.

Although multiparty elections have been held since 1992, the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
The Cameroon People's Democratic Movement is the ruling political party in Cameroon.-History:Previously known as the Cameroon National Union, which had dominated Cameroon politics since independence in 1960, it was renamed in 1985...

 (RDPC) has always retained control of the National Assembly. The Cameroonian political system invests overwhelming power in the hands of the President of the Republic, Paul Biya
Paul Biya
Paul Biya is a Cameroonian politician who has been the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. A native of Cameroon's south, Biya rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime...

, and the RDPC exists essentially to support Biya and his policies; therefore the National Assembly has little meaningful power in practice, and it debates and passes bills as desired by the Presidency.

From 1992 to 1997, the RDPC relied on alliances with two smaller parties to secure a parliamentary majority. Beginning in 1997, the RDPC has won an outright majority in each election; its majorities have consistently improved as the opposition has weakened.

2008 constitutional changes

On 10 April 2008, the National Assembly overwhelmingly voted a bill to change the Constitution of Cameroon
Constitution of Cameroon
The Constitution of Cameroon is the supreme law of the Republic of Cameroon. The document consists of a preamble and 13 Parts, each divided into Articles...

 to provide the President of the Republic with immunity from prosecution for acts as President and to allow unlimited re-elections of the President (it was previously limited to two terms of seven years) along with a number of other changes. The changes took place after a walk-out of the National Assembly by the opposition SDF representatives and just one month after widespread violence resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests protesting price rises and the proposed constitutional changes. Five members of parliament voted against the bill. Opposition lawmakers and at least one deputy from the ruling RDPC, Paul Abine Ayah
Paul Abine Ayah
Paul Abine Ayah was a member of the National Assembly of Cameroon and a member of the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement. Until recently, he joined the Opposition Party called the Peoples Action Party . In August 2007 he was elected as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the...

, criticised the bill as a setback for democracy and the country in general.

External links

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