Cabinet approves election Act, next task on Parliament  

Cabinet approves election Act, next task on Parliament  
Michael Makuei, Minister of Information and Broadcasting (photo credit: courtesy)

The National Election Act 2012, amendment Bill 2023, which has undergone a protracted review process by the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCA), has been submitted to the Council of Ministers for consideration.

Michael Makuei, the Minister of Information, told journalists yesterday that CoM has since instructed the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to forward it to the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly for consideration.

Once passed by parliament with subsequent assent by the president, the new ‘law’ will pave the way for the electioneering process.

“This bill, of course, is very important. You know that this is the law that regulates elections. As we are talking about elections, then there is a need for us to have the election law amended so that it conforms with the provisions of the agreement and start the preparations for elections,” said Makuei.

The process of reviewing the Act started last year. Makuei said that the amendment of the Act took a long time because there were some outstanding issues that NCAC could not address.

Makuie added that the issues were later referred to the governance cluster, which also failed to address them.

Among the thorny issues that took time to be agreed on by the parties was the allocation of seats in the House.

Makuei, who is also the government spokesperson, said it was agreed that 50 percent of the seats in the parliament should go to the geographical constituencies, 35 of which should be reserved for women, 15 for youth (13), and two for people with special needs.

“Concerning the 50 percent of the geographical constituency, of course there is no problem because it is an individual constituency you go and contest.”

“For others, the discussion was how the representation will be, and it was agreed that the 35 percent of women should be in accordance with party lists, and the others also agreed that the 10 percent of party lists and the three percent of youth should be according to party lists, as well as the two percent for the people with disabilities should be in party lists.”

“This is the only way we can run smooth elections,” he said.

Despite the President’s assent to the Constitution Making Process Act in December 2022, there has been little progress made towards the start of drafting the permanent constitution in the 24 months of the transitional period of the peace agreement, according to the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC).

RJMEC also noted that there have been delays in the amendment of the National Elections Act of 2012 and the operationalization of the Political Parties Act.