1501 Proposed revised date for issue of writs legal, says Gamato

The proposed revised date for the issue of writs from April 20 to May 20 is legal and within the five year anniversary of this term of Parliament. A total of seven legislative amendments to election laws will go before Parliament on the January 24 sitting of the House. The proposed reduction of the campaign period from eight weeks to four weeks has a direct impact on the 2017 election program.

These seven legislative changes to the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections include:

  •  Reduction of campaign period from the current 8 weeks down to 4 weeks;
  • Separation of national and LLG elections;
  • Increase in nomination fee from K1000 to K10,000 for national elections and K200 to K1000 for LLG elections;
  • Increase in election petition filing fee from K5000 to K20,000;
  • Places for filing election petitions to be restricted to four with one per region;
  • Provincial Governments to conduct LLG elections; and
  • Online registration (enrollment) of eligible voters.

There would be other legislative changes to election laws that would be introduced after the 2017 national general elections.

Meanwhile, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said that it has already become public knowledge and indicated that the campaign period will be reduced from two months (eight weeks) to one month (four weeks).

He said the revised date for the issue of writs from April 20, 2017 to May 20, 2017 depends entirely on Parliament's deliberations on the legislative amendments bill on election laws to be tabled on January 24, 2017.

Mr. Gamato, however, emphasized that the current tentative election program approved by the Governor General still stands.

"The important thing to know is that it is still within the five year anniversary and it is not outside the law."

"It is not illegal to change the dates so that the government and I as Electoral Commissioner can do that."

Mr. Gamato told NBC's Morning Tru radio talk show program on January 11, 2017 that the government is focusing on the January and March sittings of Parliament to pass the legislative changes to election laws.

"If Parliament which is the law-maker decides to change the date, I have no choice but to go by the laws that are made by the Parliament."

"People must know that the Electoral Commission ​and the National Executive Council (Cabinet) are not law making bodies. It's Parliament that makes laws and if it decides to change electoral laws, we must go by Parliament's decision."

Media Consultant

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