EU Commends National Assembly on Electoral Reform

By Olawale Saka

The European Union (EU) has commended the National Assembly for the progress made so far in passing a comprehensive amendment to the Constitution and the electoral Act.

In a briefing by the former Chief Observer of the 2015 EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) and member of the European Parliament, Santiago Fisas, the EU commended the National Assembly for the progress made so far in constitutional and electoral amendment.

Fisas who is in Nigeria, disclosed that the current mission is to assess the current electoral reform process and the extent to which previous EU Election Observation Mission recommendations have been addressed.

He advised political parties to ensure internal democracy by ensuring that their primaries are done in a democratic way, adding that, “It is important to know the background of the candidates and be sure they are the right people to run for election.”

He, however, called for expedited action of the amendment process, noting that, “for election reform to be effective, amendments need to be adopted as soon as possible.”

“There is need for the implementation to start well before 2019 general election. I believe that a strengthening of the democratic process is what we all would like to see,” Fisas said.

Recall that on Thursday, March 30th, 2017, the Senate passed amendments to the Electoral Act of 2010, approving the use of electronic voting in future elections; and also approving that election results should be electronically transmitted to collation centers.

Other highlights of the new bill include provisions for the use of Card Readers and enabling INEC to transmit the results of elections electronically in an encrypted and secured manner to prevent hacking.