Saturday, July 11, 2020

Can The Government Change The Dates Of Elections?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

The Independent Electoral Commission had initially fixed the elections for councillors and mayors to be held on the same day. But when the law was amended to provide for popular election of chairpersons of councils as opposed to election by councillors, the IEC fixed a new different date for the election of mayor/chairperson. The IEC says it was not prepared for such new arrangement.

Cabinet prefers both elections to be held on the same date and wish to consult IEC on this matter. But can the government change the date? No, it cannot and it understands this, and that is why it talks about consultation.

Section 43 subsection (1) paragraph (d) of the Constitution states:

“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Independent Electoral Commission shall be responsible for ensuring that the dates, times and places of public elections and referenda are determined in accordance with law and that they are publicised and elections held accordingly.”

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This means that the IEC is responsible for fixing the dates of elections though it must be in accordance with the law.

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