The Constitutional Council is the youngest legislative arm of government to be created in Cameroon’s judiciary. It is the highest court of the land and its decisions cannot be appealed.
The Constitutional Council was put in place on 7th February 2018 by Law N° 96 /06 of 18th January 1996 on constitutional revision of 2nd June 1972 (modified by the Law No.2008/001 of April 14, 2008).
Cameroon’s Constitution defines the Constitutional Council as the competent authority to handle constitutional matters. According to section 46 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Council rules on the constitutionality of laws. It is also a regulatory organ that oversees the functioning of institutions.
The institution officially became operational as from Tuesday, 6th March 2018, following the swearing in of its eleven members.
According to section 48 of the constitutions, the Constitutional Council watches over the regularity of presidential and parliamentary elections as well as referendum operations. The Constitutional Council also proclaims the results of these various elections. The results of the Senatorial election of March 2018, was the first result to be published by the council.
Prior to the publications of the Senatorial election results, the President of the Constitutional Council, Clement Atangana and the ten other members held their first hearings and passed judgements on pre senatorial election petitions.
The council dismissed all the pre-election petitions for lack of evidence. The council also dismissed post election petitions brought before it for similar reasons.
The council also verifies the constitutionality of laws, treaties and international agreements; the internal regulations of the National Assembly and the Senate; conflicts of competence between State’s institutions; between the State and Regions; and between Regions.
The Constitutional Council also receives election reports from the Electoral Board of Elections Cameroon with regards measures to ensure compliance with the electoral law by all stakeholders for the purpose of guaranteeing regular, impartial, free, fair, transparent and credible polls. It also receives files of candidates running for elections.
Before assuming office, members of the Electoral Board take the oath before the Constitutional Council. Section 68 of the Electoral Code indicates that a member of the Constitutional Council, appointed by the President of the Constitutional Council is the Chairperson of the national commission for the final counting of votes.
The Constitutional Council shall ensure the regularity of the presidential election.
The President-elect shall assume office once he or she takes the oath before the Cameroonian people in the presence of Members of Parliament, the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Court meeting in solemn session.
Where the Presidency of the Republic becomes vacant as a result of death, resignation or permanent unavailability, it is ascertained by the Constitutional Council.
If the President of the Republic wishes to step down, he shall then tender his resignation to the President of the Constitutional Council, who shall send a copy thereof to the President of the Senate.