Senegalese lawmakers have approved a constitutional reform to scrap the post of prime minister, the first initiative of President Macky Sall’s second term in office.
The motion was passed with 124 MPs voting in favour and only seven against, this is according to National Assembly president Moustapha Niasse after a nine hour debate on Saturday evening.
The lawmakers also backed legislative changes aimed at preventing the president from dissolving the National Assembly, which in turn can no longer table a motion of no confidence against the government.
Justice Minister Malick Sall said the changes were “purely technical and administrative”.
“The goal is not to increase the powers of the president of the republic,” he told MPs.
However Opposition parties have denounced the constitutional amendments.
“It’s a democratic setback. You can’t concentrate powers in the hands of one person,” said Toussaint Manga, who heads an opposition group founded by supporters of former president Abdoulaye Wade.
Sall, who was comfortably re-elected in February, announced the plan in early April, telling the Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, to abolish his own job.
The move came in as a surprise as it had not been part of Sall’s re-election campaign.