The Evolution of Parliamentarism in Africa in the Context of Social Transformation and the Formation of a Multipolar World

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Researcher, Centre for Sociological and Political Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Affiliation: Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 8

The article is devoted to the study of parliaments’ role in the state structure of African countries and their place in the system of powers’ separation. It is noted that, for historical reasons, the presidential rather than parliamentary form of government prevails in many countries.

In the mass consciousness, the function of the president is still associated with the role of the leader. But the constitutions of African states have been changed compared to those that existed in the 1950–1980s. They have significantly expanded the powers of representative authorities. But they are not always and not fully implemented in practice.

The personalization of power also weakens the prestige of legislative assemblies. There are also other causes hindering the development of parliamentarism, which are discussed in detail in this article. Along with such causes, the positive shifts towards the strengthening parliaments’ role on the continent are analyzed. The situation is improving, especially in South Africa, where the level of executive control is quite strong. Parliamentary sessions and budget voting are regularly held in most African countries.

The analysis of new constitutional legislative and regulatory acts makes it possible to detect a formal increase in the powers of parliament in drafting laws.

The paper examines the Pan-African Parliament’s activities in the structures of the African Union. The causes that prevent the Parliament from becoming a full-fledged legislative body are examined.

Attention is paid to the prospects for strengthening Russian-African cooperation, which received a new impetus after the Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia – Africa” held in Moscow in March 2023. This forum confirmed the political solidarity of African countries with Russia in the context of the formation of a just multipolar world. It outlined the vector of future inter-parliamentary cooperation between African countries and Russia.

Keywordsparliamentarism, separation of powers, presidentialism, Pan-African Parliament, Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia – Africa”
Publication date30.08.2023
Number of characters26297
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