Parties Without Seats In National/State Assemblies To Be De-Registered

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ABUJA, June 30, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives today passed into law a bill empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to henceforth de-register any political party that fails to win a seat in the National or State Assembly election.

With this development, more than half of the 58 political parties in the country would go.

Of the 58 registered parties in the country only five parties can boast of having seats in either National or States Assembly. They include the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Action Congress (AC) All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP).

Titled ‘a bill for an act to establish the Independent National Electoral commission, regulate the conduct of Federal, State, and Area Council Elections and to repeal the Electoral Act 2006 and for related matters’ was passed sequel to the consideration and adoption of the report of the House Ad hoc committee to aggregate the views of members on political parties’ registration.

If Jonathan assents to the new law, a political association seeking registration must have at least 10, 000 registered and verified members in at least two-third of the states of the federation in addition to maintaining functional and verifiable offices in at least two-third of the local governments of the federation before it can sail through.

"The commission shall verify all the claims of the associations seeking registration and publish the reports of the verification in at least three (3) national newspapers before registration," states the new law.

On June 1, 2010 the lower chamber set up an eight member ad hoc committee led by the minority leader, Hon. Mohammed Ali Ndume to aggregate the views of members on the issue of political parties’ registration and make recommendations.

Presenting the report today, Ndume told the House that the committee engaged in wide consultations, before putting the report together.

"The members of the committee after exhaustive deliberations came up with the under listed recommendations which they felt would go a long way in creating broad based national political parties," he said.

Dimeji Bankole, Speaker of the House who chaired the sitting said the passage of the bill was part of efforts aimed at reviewing the 1999 Constitution before the next General Elections.