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INEC Now To De-Register Political Parties As Senate Pass New Electoral Bill

Source: EMMA UCHE -
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ABUJA, Dec 21, (THEWILL) - The over-bloated number of political parties, 62 at the last count, may be pruned down significantly after the 2011 election as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been empowered to do so in the new Electoral bill passed today in the Senate. It is indeed sad news for some of the near moribund political parties.

The development was sequel to the adoption of the report of the Conference Committee on the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment Bill) by the Senate.

Adoption of Section 78(7), which empowers INEC to de-register political parties that fail to win at least a seat in the National Assembly is the major highlight of the bill aside the jettisoning of the contentious Section 87 on automatic membership of National Executive Committee (NEC) for lawmakers.

Also the new bill canceled the consensus candidate arrangement, as it is now mandatory for a political party to hold primaries for aspirants to all elective offices before nominating candidates for elections.

The Senate and the House of Representatives Conference report harmonized the differing position of both chambers on the bill which hitherto generated so much public interest.

The bill which seeks among other things to ensure proper conduct of political parties nonetheless makes INEC a respondent in any case of election petition against the conduct of elections by its electoral officers.

The two chambers had passed different versions of the amendment bill in almost all the 37 sections and 16 paragraphs in the First Schedule (38-52).

A new Section 87(11) seeking to make lawmakers members of NEC of their parties had earlier been deleted by the two chambers following public rejection of the clause.

Presenting the report, Chairman of the Senate Conference Committee, Senator Kanti Bello, said after deliberation, the committee adopted the Senate version of the bill in sections 1-37 of the bill as well as all the amendments in the First Schedule.

He noted that the committee also adopted the House of Representatives version of the amendments to Sections 8, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 36.