On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Thorpe proposes new election date

The Chief Electoral Commissioner Dr Christiana Thorpe has proposed a new date for the elections two weeks after the date announced by President Tejan Kabbah.
The Chief Electoral Commissioner reportedly explained to representatives of political parties at a meeting held at the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Wellington headquarters last week that according to the constitution {Section 84(2)} parliament is supposed to sit for the first time not later than 28 days after a general election.
Therefore though the current Parliament should have met for the first time on June 11 2002, it however met for the first time on June 25 2002.
Furthermore {Section 85(1)} of the constitution states that the life of Parliament is “five years commencing from the date of its first sitting after a general election” which in effect means that parliament can only be dissolved on June 25, 2007.
The implications of this according to NEC is that because section 87(1) states that parliamentary elections should be held not earlier than 30 days and not later than 90 days “provided than nominations for such elections shall in no case be closed within 14 days after the dissolution” of parliament, then nominations for the parliamentary elections could not be closed before 9th July 2007.
This in effect leaves NEC with only 15 days to prepare for the elections. They (NEC) maintained that the period is therefore “extremely tight” if not impossible, “to complete the design, printing, packaging, delivery and distribution of ballot papers in time for the 28 July 2007 elections.”
NEC further maintained that if nominations were to close on 9th June then all 112 ballot papers will have to be delivered to the NEC headquarters by 10th June. They envisaged that the 112 ballot papers will attract between 1,000 and 1,500 different candidates.
Therefore the process of electronic data enquiry, merging of party symbols onto ballot papers and also electronic merging of photos are estimated to take between 4 days and a week to be accomplished.
Estimating the period for printing and packaging of the different ballot papers to take a further two weeks to complete, NEC argued that the ballot papers “will therefore not be ready for transportation into Sierra Leone before July 28.”
It was also mentioned that given that the elections will be held during the rainy season what “under normal circumstances” would take one week may likely need more time and therefore NEC is asking for additional days to be able to un-package the ballot papers sort them out and deliver them to the correct polling stations.
In effect NEC says “two additional weeks are required in order for the NEC to realistically be able to ensure all polling centers are supplied with ballot papers on time.”
NEC is therefore recommending that “elections are held concurrently but are rescheduled to take place on 11 August 2007” with “nominations for President … take place from 26 to 30 June 2007” and “ nominations for parliament will take place from 4 to 9 July 2007.”
Also that “there will be one campaign period for both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections from 10th July to 9th August 2007.”
Final results for the elections are expected to be announced on or around 23rd August 2007 and if there is need for a run off it will be held on September 6, 2007.

Comments are closed.