Mass Media and Free Press in Eritrea
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adal

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posted by AZMARINO  Today at 12:11 AM

My Question to the good professor: according to the constitution, could the president of the state be the chairman of the national assembly? if so, doesnt that contradict the basic principle of democracy: independence of the judiciary branch and the executive branch? If the president of the state is the chairman of the assembly; does he has one third vote in the assembly? how does it work and how is it supposed to work. Thank you Professor Bereket


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Eritrea for Eritreans! Reclaiming our voice through non-violent struggle! Opposition to Ethiopia's interference in Eritrea's affairs!

Bereket

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This question is probably actuated by the present practice in which the President of Eritrea acts as Chairman of the National Assembly as well as Head of the Executive. Under the ratified Constitution of Eritrea, the President does not have the power to preside over the National Assembly That role is given to a member of the National Assembly who is elected by that body to preside over it.

This is based on the more or less universally accepted doctrine of separation of powers, under which the three branches of government function independently from one another.  This principle is based on two considerations.  First and foremost, it is designed to guarantee against abuse of power which invariably occurs when power is concentrated in the hand of one person, be he/she a Monarch, or an autocratic President.  Secondly, it is aimed at the distribution of governmental functions among different departments in order to ensure efficiency and rational application of laws.     

The doctrine of separation of Powers was first articulated as a revolutionary  idea in the 18th century by by French Philosopher/Historian/Jurist, Charles Montesquieu.  It was then applied as a working principle of governance by the American revolutionaries who adopted it in the American Constitution in 1787.  American writers on the constitution have coined the apt phrase, "checks and balance" to encapsulate the twin aims of preventing abuse and ensuring distribution of powers. Since then, practically every constitution of the world has adopted the idea.  The constitution makers of Eritrea in 1997 are no different.

AZMARINO

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Professor Bereket; thanks for your response. I may have miss understood you; but does the Eritrean constitution explicitely mention that president could not be the chairperson of the assembly or is it assumed to be so and not dealt with.

 

Thanks once again


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Eritrea for Eritreans! Reclaiming our voice through non-violent struggle! Opposition to Ethiopia's interference in Eritrea's affairs!
AZMARINO

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Another Question for Professor Bereket:

 

A great deal of the Eritrean opposition groups have political programs and charters that are quiet scary to say the least. One of the things that scare me their inclination towards sharia based governance. They claim that they want to allow ethnic groups and particularly muslims to go about their daily affairs as they see it fit. What scares me that Sharia (which is based on the Quran) and The bible for that matter have a lot that does not make sense. According to these religious documents, men and women could not be equal. religious based governance could conflict with the constitution. Let me give you an example just for illustration: National service is a good cause and a good culture. I dont like national service the way Isaias's regime is implementing; but a free service to our nation for a period of 18 month is a good cause and very constructive in deed. Now come to the issue of women participation in national service. according to constitution, women and men should serve equally. But some of our muslim brothers from the west would not allow their women to go for national service. How should a government deal with such difficult circumstances.


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Eritrea for Eritreans! Reclaiming our voice through non-violent struggle! Opposition to Ethiopia's interference in Eritrea's affairs!
Bereket

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Professor Bereket; thanks for your response. I may have miss understood you; but does the Eritrean constitution explicitly mention that president could not be the chairperson of the assembly or is it assumed to be so and not dealt with.

 

Thanks once again/QUOTE]

 

Selam Asmarino,

Your supplementary question asks whether the Eritrean constitution explicitly mentions that the president cannot be the chairperson of the Assembly, or if it is assumed to be so.

Article 34 provides that the Chairperson of the National Assembly shall be elected by an absolute majority vote of its members. As for the president of the country, who is designated as Head of State and government, he/she shall be elected to that post by the National Assembly.  By no stretch of the imagination--by no canons of interpretation--can it be assumed that the President can usurp the chair of the Chairperson of the National Assembly.  If he does, he is liable to be impeached under articles 41(6) and 32(9) for violating the constitution.

 

Note to readers:

 There have been a number of questions and comments posted, including three lengthy comments, which I will address soon.  Due to a family obligation of a special kind, I am leaving for a short trip. I am using this opportunity in which I felt I had to respond to Asmarino's follow-up question, just before my departure, to offer my apologies to those whose questions I have not answered, but which I will answer as soon as I am back from the trip.

Ab TsibuQ NraKeb!

Bereket

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Note to readers:

 There have been a number of questions and comments posted, including three lengthy comments, which I will address soon.  Due to a family obligation of a special kind, I am leaving for a short trip. I am using this opportunity in which I felt I had to respond to Asmarino's follow-up question, just before my departure, to offer my apologies to those whose questions I have not answered, but which I will answer as soon as I am back from the trip.

Ab TsibuQ NraKeb!

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