Gabon’s parliament has approved constitutional changes to fill a legal void if the president becomes incapacitated and grant heads of state immunity after they leave office.
The question of a constitutional vacuum became a crunch issue in the Central African State two years ago when president Ali Bongo Ondimba suffered a stroke that needed months-long convalescence.
Under the change, the president’s power will be transferred to a triumvirate – the speakers of its chambers of parliament and the defence minister – if the head of state becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
The congress also approved a change to the constitution to declare that former presidents cannot be “accused, prosecuted, sought, arrested, detained or judged” for acts committed while they were in office.
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