8 December 2012

Zambia: Central Delegates Endorse Last Thursday of September As Elections Date

DELEGATES to the Central Province Constitution convention have endorsed a clause in the first Draft Constitution on holding of the general elections on the last Thursday of September after every five years.

The delegates have upheld the 50 per cent plus one vote for a candidate to be elected to the office of the President.

This is on a basis of a majority system.

After a lengthy debate on Article 82 on the elections date, the delegates said the rationale was to ensure certainty, and facilitate proper and adequate planning by all players.

This would also stimulate interest among the electorate in elections.

The delegates observed that a predetermined date would ensure that democracy was not circumvented by allowing the ruling party to determine the elections date to its advantage.

Further, they argued that allowing an institution or authority to determine the elections date could compromise the fairness of elections.

They said elections to the office of the President, National Assembly and district councils could be held on separate dates within 90 days of the period specified.

On the 50 per cent plus one vote, the delegates endorsed the Article stating that the current electoral system had a number of weaknesses.

They said where no single candidate receives 50 per cent plus one vote, an alternative vote or a 'send' ballot would be applied in which top contenders go for a re-run.

The advantage of applying such a system is that the elected candidate would have wide support and confidence of the people.

The delegates also upheld Article 81 that states that a losing candidate should not be eligible for appointment as a minister, provincial minister and Parliamentary secretary.

However, the same article states that such a losing candidate should be allowed to serve the nation in non-political offices for which they are qualified.

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