IEC wants reforms

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The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) wants the electoral laws in the country to be reformed. Speaking at a seminar hosted for legislators, IEC executive secretary Gabriel Seeletso called on government to clamp down on voter trafficking by tightening penalties.

He singled out Section 25 of the Electoral Act for amendment to guard against voter transfers during by-elections. He said that the election date should be known well in advance and not left to the whims of the President. "The election date should be known well in advance, taking into account of course the possibility that, in the case of a general election, the President has the prerogative to (and in some circumstances may be forced to) dissolve Parliament earlier than at the end of the five year period.
"It is also essential that the Electoral Act gives the IEC the power to determine cut-off dates for registration so that all the rolls can be published and certified before a writ of election is issued."

Seeletso proposes that there must be automatic cut off dates and transfers. These must be the date on which a political vacancy occurs due to death, resignation or other means. In a series of envisaged reforms, the IEC proposes that it should be given power to postpone an election even on polling day. Seeletso told MPs that there was confusion in the interpretation of Section 50 and 66 of Botswana's Electoral Act. While Section 66(1) states that at the end of voting time, the presiding officer shall declare that no more persons shall be admitted in to the polling station, Section 50(3) states that the presiding officer may permit the taking of the poll to continue for a period not exceeding two hours.

Editor's Comment
Implement the recommendations Mr. President

The nation is eagerly awaiting this report to have a glimpse of what the recommendations are like, possibly for further debate. Mr. President, it’s our ardent hope that true to your promises, the public will have an opportunity to peruse the report and see if it reflects their interests as the Commission went around the length and breadth of the country collecting views of the people with some choosing to write to the Commission’s...

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