Friday, April 20, 2012


Source: Weekender, Post Courie, April 14-15 2012
THE Electoral Commission will go ahead with the 2012 National General elections following a revised election program.
In a media statement, Electoral Commissioner said it was the constitutional mandate of the Electoral Commission to conduct free, and fair elections as required under Section 126 (1-8) of the Constitution and Section 15 of the Organic Law on National and Local-Level Government Elections.
This is despite Speaker Jeffery Nape maintaining that the motion to defer elections for six months still stands.
Parliament voted 63-11 last week to defer elections by six months. Prime Minister O’Neill and his Cabinet decided for a one month deferral on Easter Monday but Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen announced this week that the Issue of Writs would only be delayed for three weeks, setting the new issue of writ date to May 18, but maintaining the June election dates.
Speaker Nape this week announced in a statement that Parliament would need to repeal the six month motion and reintroduce the three weeks deferral of elections with absolute majority of 55 votes to enact it.
He also told Parliament that he was seeking legal advice as to who is responsible for setting dates for elections.
“I have to advice members of the NEC including Prime Minister and the public servant (Electoral Commissioner) to simply come to Parliament and rescind the motion and that will require the support of 55 members to effectively remove the motion and on laws made by Parliament, you have to do a repeal bill to repeal laws,” Mr Nape said.
Let me inform the Honorable House that the action taken by the NEC and its public servant (Electoral Commissioner) is deemed unlawful. Let me also clarify that the Electoral Commission, who is a constitutional office holder is a public servant and cannot make any decisions contrary to the decision of Parliament.
“If the Electoral Commissioner is reluctant to complete the electoral process, Parliament will advise the Head of State to perform the duties of the Electoral Commission to set the new dates for the 2012 General Elections. The Electoral Commissioner cannot set dates for elections but can conduct elections only according to dates set by the Parliament. “I am also in the process of seeking court clarification on who has the power to call elections – the Parliament or the public servant (Electoral Commissioner). Also I will be doing a detail statement during the week.
“I, as the Speaker of Parliament am duty bound to ensure that the due process of the decision of Parliament is completed and I would like for the Electoral Commissioner to do this duty by setting new dates for the 2012 General Elections.”
However, the media statement by the Electoral Commission on Friday April 13, stated that the 2012 National General Elections would proceed with the new dates set.

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