A revised constitution amendment bill for the creation of an electoral commission, to replace the electoral commissioner, is now for five members instead of three, to be proposed by the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA) and submitted to the President for appointment.
The Constitutional Review Committee’s Report of December 2009, addressed to the President of the Republic, had recommended that Article 115 of the Constitution be amended to provide for an electoral commission comprising three members, as opposed to the existing office of the Electoral Commissioner.
Accordingly, on 10th June 2011, the Cabinet approved a bill proposing an amendment to the constitution whereby an electoral commission would be created, comprising three persons appointed using procedures similar to that for the appointment of the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA).
Following further deliberations by National Assembly Members of Parti Lepep, a decision was taken to withdraw the amendment as originally proposed. During its meeting of 30th June, Cabinet approved an alternative version of the amendment to the Constitution, which would provide for the establishment of a larger electoral commission, comprising five members, including the chairperson. The members would be appointed by the President from nominations made by the CAA.
Allowing the CAA to make nominations has the advantage that the CAA can invite applications from suitably qualified and experienced citizens to serve on the electoral commission, and for the CAA to review such applications and make appropriate recommendations. This procedure also distances the appointment of members of the electoral commission from undue political influence. It also provides an avenue for members of civil society, other institutions and aspiring citizens, to apply for membership of the Commission.
Once the electoral commission has been established, the commission would immediately begin work to review all existing legislation relating to presidential, legislative and other elections in Seychelles, and matters pursuant to Articles 117 and 118 of the constitution, e.g. the funding and expenditure of political parties in the context of election campaigns.