INEC PROPOSES REFORMS TO LIMIT BYE-ELECTIONS

Written by on December 21, 2020

THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) IS PROPOSING SWEEPING REFORMS TO ENHANCE THE NATION’S ELECTORAL PROCESS AND CONTEST.

UNDER THE REFORMS, THE DETAILS OF WHICH WERE RELEASED YESTERDAY, THE COMMISSION IS SEEKING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTIONS 68, 109 AND 117 OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION (AS AMENDED) AS PARTS OF EFFORTS TO CURB THE FREQUENCY OF BY-ELECTIONS.

IF PASSED INTO LAW, A LAWMAKER EITHER FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OR STATE LEGISLATURE WHO RESIGNS HIS LEGISLATIVE SEAT ON ACCOUNT OF ILL HEALTH OR TO CONTEST FOR HIGHER ELECTIVE POST, AMONG OTHERS, WILL BE REPLACED BY THE CANDIDATE OF THE PARTY WITH THE NEXT HIGHEST VOTES IN THE ELECTION.

THE PROPOSAL ALSO SEEKS A LEGAL FRAMEWORK TO ENABLE THE POLITICAL PARTY THAT SPONSORED A LATE CANDIDATE TO REPLACE HIM THROUGH ITS INTERNAL PARTY MECHANISM RATHER THAN BE COMPELLED TO HOLD FRESH PRIMARIES TO PICK A REPLACEMENT AS THE EXTANT PRACTICE.

BESIDES, THE COMMISSION IS PUSHING FOR AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 285 OF THE CONSTITUTION TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR ALL PRE-ELECTION DISPUTES TO BE CONCLUDED BEFORE THE CONDUCT OF THE GENERAL ELECTION.

THE INEC IS ALSO PROPOSING THE AMENDMENT TO SECTIONS 78 AND 84 OF THE ELECTORAL ACT TO ENABLE POLITICAL ASSOCIATIONS WISHING TO BE REGISTERED AS POLITICAL PARTIES TO FILE THEIR APPLICATIONS AND HAVE ALL PROCESSES CONCLUDED AT LEAST 12 TO 18 MONTHS BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION AND THE SAME THING SHOULD APPLY TO POLITICAL PARTIES WISHING TO MERGE.


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