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Kenya parliamentary committee abolishes prime minister position in draft constitution

[JURIST] Kenya's Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Thursday recommended [statement] eliminating the position of prime minister in the country's draft constitution [text, PDF]. Other PSC proposals [Daily Nation report] include an expanded parliament, with some seats guaranteed to women, a prohibition on members of parliament serving in cabinet positions to maintain a separation of powers, and a presidency that requires a candidate to receive a majority of the popular vote as well as at least a quarter of the vote in at least half the counties. The PSC will share its decisions with Kenya's Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review [official website] for it to consider.

Last week, the PSC decided that it would not recommend marriage rights [JURIST report] for women equal to those of men. The first draft of the constitution was unveiled [JURIST report] in November. The changes are intended to reduce the widespread injustice throughout the country, and specifically address issues that led to violence following the 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. In October, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive] called for constitutional reform in Kenya before the next electoral cycle begins in 15 months. In 2007, tens of thousands of protesters took to Kenya's streets accusing President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] of election fraud after early opinion polls suggested rival Raila Odinga [campaign website] was in the lead.

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