Djibouti is a small country located in the horn of Africa and gained independence from France in 1977. The system of government practiced in Djibouti is based on a semi-presidential system where the President is the head of state while the Prime Minister is the head of government. Legislative authority is vested on the Executive as well as the National Assembly.
Constitution Of Djibouti
The Constitution of Djibouti is the supreme law in the country. The current constitution was ratified in 1992 and was amended in 2010. The Constitution of Djibouti is made up of 13 titles and 97 articles. Title 1 of The Constitution of Djibouti dictates the sovereignty of Djibouti and ordains Islam as the official state religion. Title 1 of the Constitution also dictates French and Arabic as the official languages in Djibouti. Article 2 of The Constitution recognizes Djibouti’s national flag and also establishes the nation’s capital city as Djibouti City. The rights and freedoms of Djibouti residents are also outlined in Title 2 which defines the citizens as sacred.
The Executive Branch Of The Government Of Djibouti
The powers, privileges, and composition of the Executive are set out in Title 3 of the Constitution. The President of Djibouti is the head of state and is elected during democratic elections through popular adult suffrage to serve a six-year term. The President is also the Commander in Chief of Djibouti Armed Forces and has the power to issue a pardon to convicts. The President is responsible for the appointment of principal government officials including the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and has the mandate to appoint members of the cabinet (also known as the Council of Ministers). The Cabinet is tasked to conduct government operations and to implement government policies.
The Legislative Branch Of The Government Of Djibouti
Title 4 of the Constitution indicates the powers, composition, and privileges of the Legislature. According to the Constitution, Djibouti has a unicameral (single-chamber) parliament which, in conjunction with the executive, wields legislative authority. The National Assembly of Djibouti is made up of 65 members who are all democratically elected during general elections through a popular vote to serve five-year terms. 35 members of the National Assembly are Somali while 30 members are Afar. The President of the National Assembly is the leader of Parliament and is mandated to moderate parliamentary proceedings. The members of the national assembly are also known as Deputies, and all enjoy legal immunity.
The Judicial Branch Of The Government Of Djibouti
The Judiciary is the arm of government in Djibouti responsible for the administration of justice. The judicial system is based on French codified law, the local customary law as well as Islamic Sharia law. The lowest judicial levels in Djibouti’s judicial system are the courts of the first instance which are spread all across the country. There are also five customary courts, one for each of the five administrative districts in the country. The highest court in the country is the Supreme Court followed by the high court of appeal. The Constitution also recognizes the Constitutional Council which is mandated to check the constitutionality of existing laws. The Superior Council of the Magistrature is a judicial body mandated to offer legal advice to the President. The Judiciary of Djibouti is entirely independent of the executive with the President presiding over the Superior Council of the Magistrature.