Friday, November 19, 2010

50% + 1 won’t be used in 2011 - Kunda

50% + 1 won’t be used in 2011 - Kunda
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 19 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

THE 50 per cent plus one threshold for a presidential candidate will not be used to determine the winner in next year’s general elections. Vice-President George Kunda yesterday confirmed that the requirement for presidential election victory was among five contentious clauses referred to a referendum by the Chifumu Banda-led National Constitutional Conference (NCC).

However, he said the referendum would not take place before next year’s tripartite elections, partly because of cost implications.

This means the 50 per cent plus one provision for a candidate to be declared president would not be part of the electoral Act on which the 2011 polls will be held.

Vice-President Kunda said the government had not reached a decision on the holding of a referendum but that it would be held “at an opportune time”.

“As you know all these processes have cost implications for the nation,” said Vice-President Kunda, who doubles as justice minister.

“As you know . . . we are doing a national census where we are spending billions of kwacha and again we are going to have elections next year where we will spend billions of kwacha so the issue of the referendum, we have to reflect on it and decide as Cabinet and even the people of Zambia whether this is how we should proceed.”

He said the decision of Cabinet was that Zambians should proceed with the enactment of provisions that did not require a referendum.

“Substantially, we will have a new constitution except for part three, the Bill of Rights and Article 79. If you have looked at the draft constitution presented by the NCC, it substantially addresses the issue of enacting a new constitution,” he said.

“Government has decided to publish in the government gazette the Constitution of Zambia Bill 2010 and the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill 2010 as required under Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia. This means that the enactment process of those provisions of the draft constitution which do not require a referendum has begun.”

He said the draft bills would be published in the government gazette for 30 days, and would be available at Government printers from November 22 after which they would be tabled in the National Assembly in February 2011 for debate.

He said the government’s aim would be to have the amendment enacted.

Vice-President Kunda said Part iii (Bill of Rights) and Article 79 of the current constitution have remained intact as per current constitution.

The clauses that require to be subjected to the referendum include the following:
Article 95 (1) of Mung’omba Draft Constitution on Electoral systems for Presidential elections which provides that Elections to the office of President shall be conducted on the basis of a majoritarian system where the winning candidate must receive not less than 50 per cent plus one vote of the valid votes cast and in accordance with Article 125; Article 162 (8) (a) of Mung’omba Draft Constitution on tenure of office and vacation of office of member of National Assembly which provides that; 162 (8): “If a political party is dissolved – (a) a member holding a constituency-based seat shall retain it.

He further cited other articles of the draft constitution that would need referendum.

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