Mere ploys to delay elections, CaFFE cries out! 30% rep for women & having elections on the same day

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By 2017-09-26

Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) issuing a press release states that the government has deceived women's rights organizations, civil society organizations and all interested parties, by indicating that the recently passed amendments to Provincial Council Election laws ensures higher female representation in the Provincial Councils.

The stated objective of the amendment is to ensure that a minimum of 30% of the list of candidates of a political party consists of women. However there are no provisions in the Bill to make a list of candidates invalid of it does not consist of 30% of women. Thus the selection officer has no power to reject such a list. It is rather unfortunate that neither these women's rights organizations nor the civil society organizations, which are silent on the undemocratic nature in which this Bill was passed, last week, have not hitherto realized that the Bill does not in any way ensure higher female representation in Provincial Councils.

The other slogan used by those who supported the Bill is that this Bill will ensure that the elections for all nine provinces will be held on one day. Once again there are no provisions on this Bill to ensure that. Apart from that, a close reading of the Bill shows that the elections will have to be held on a staggered basis (at least on two separate occasions).

The Bill has also ensured that the Parliament will have to debate and come up with provisions to resolve over a dozen of technical issues and confusions that have arisen. The government will surely bring in new proposals to 'rectify' issues that arise from things like appointing a new delimitation commission outside the existing one. Given what transpired regarding the amendments to the laws governing Local Government elections, it is difficult to estimate how long it will take for the Parliament to resolve these issues. This can easily lead to a delay in holding elections; this is exactly what the Government wants.

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