Electoral Commission

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Kenya: Poll body officials yield to Opposition pressure, to exit | The East African

Commissioners in Kenya’s polling body have finally agreed to leave office after months of anxiety regarding their fate as the country inches closer to the 2017 elections. The nine commissioners, led by Chairman Issack Hassan, on Wednesday told a joint parliamentary committee comprising members of the country’s National Assembly and the Senate that they are ready to leave office through a political settlement for the sake of peace. That means the joint committee, co-chaired by Senators Kiraitu Murungi and James Orengo, will now have to craft a bill that allows the commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to leave office before the end of their term in September 2017 as part of the larger electoral reforms.

Full Article: Kenya's poll body officials yield to Opposition pressure, to exit - News.

Iraq: Demand for reform reaches Iraq’s electoral commission | Al-Monitor

A group of Iraqi legislators plans to submit a petition to the speaker of parliament requesting the deposition of executive council members of the Independent High Electoral Commission with an eye toward the commission’s dissolution. The group objects to the commission having been formed based on the quota system, as a result of members being nominated by the parliament, and thus in a corruptive manner. More than 100 members of parliament from the Al-Ahrar bloc, affiliated with the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Reform Front, close to former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, signed the petition July 19. The move, coming less than a year before local elections, seems to have become a ritual preceding every election. This time, the demand is being packaged as part of the ongoing push for political reforms. At a protest in Baghdad on July 15, Sadr, leader of the Sadrist movement, had called for the commission to be dismissed because of its basis in the partisan, sectarian quota system. He is calling for a technocratic electoral commission with members appointed by the judiciary, a proposal that would require new legislation.

Full Article: Demand for reform reaches Iraq's electoral commission.

Chad: Rights groups quit election commission days before key poll | GlobalPost

Chadian unions and rights groups on Friday pulled out of several state institutions, including the election commission, saying they felt “gagged” in the run-up to closely-watched presidential polls. The announcement of the groups’ withdrawal from Chad’s electoral commission and other bodies comes a day after the trial of four leading activists held on controversial charges of disturbing the peace was postponed, prolonging their detention. “Given the decision to maintain our comrades in detention, we have decided to withdraw” delegates from forums including the CENI (electoral commission), Goukouni Vaima, the deputy head of the UST labour federation, told a press conference.

Full Article: Chad rights groups quit election commission days before key poll | GlobalPost.

United Kingdom: Lords allow Cameron to bring forward reforms to voting system | The Guardian

David Cameron’s reforms to the voting system have narrowly survived an attempt to kill them off in the House of Lords, despite warnings from the Electoral Commission that people could be disenfranchised. Peers rejected a fatal motion that would have stopped the Conservatives bringing forward use of a new electoral register to December 2016, even though it contains up to 1.9 million fewer names than the old register. The new register requires everyone to be registered as an individual, which differs from the old system under which the head of a household was able to register all occupants. The narrow win will be a relief for Cameron after the House of Lords voted down the government’s cuts to tax credits on Monday.

Full Article: Lords allow Cameron to bring forward reforms to voting system | Politics | The Guardian.

United Kingdom: Scrap the £500 deposit to run for parliament, says Electoral Commission | The Guardian

The £500 deposit required to run for parliament should be scrapped in order to enable a wider range of candidates to stand, says the Electoral Commission. A report by the election regulator sets out a range of recommendations to update the rules on standing for election, which it says are “complex, out-of-date and difficult for candidates to navigate”. It describes the rule that candidates should provide a £500 deposit – which they lose if they do not win 5% of the vote – as unreasonable. “We do not think that the ability to pay a specified fee is a relevant or appropriate criterion for determining access to the ballot paper,” the report says. The watchdog recommends that if deposits are scrapped, candidates should still be required to gather the signatures of a set number of supporters to show that they are seriously contesting an election.

Full Article: Scrap the £500 deposit to run for parliament, says Electoral Commission | Politics | The Guardian.

Bosnia: Nationalists ahead as Bosnia presidency votes counted | AFP

Nationalist candidates of Bosnia’s Croats, Muslims and Serbs were ahead in the race for the country’s tripartite presidency, partial results showed early Monday. Bakir Izetbegovic, head of the main Muslim SDA party, looked set to win his second term as the Muslim member of the joint presidency. Izetbegovic, son of Bosnia’s late wartime leader Alija Izetbegovic, won 33.16 percent of the votes, according to results based on almost 77 percent of ballots counted. His main opponent, local media mogul Fahrudin Radoncic, garnered 26.67 percent, the early results from the electoral commission showed.

Full Article: Nationalists ahead as Bosnia presidency votes counted - Yahoo News.

New Zealand: Electoral Commission conservative in interpretation of law | New Zealand Herald

A public law expert says the Electoral Commission – which has recently cautioned against a song, a fashion exhibition and a rugby billboard – is very risk averse and conservative in its interpretation of electoral law. The commission last week banned the satirical song Planet Key from television and radio broadcasts, and cautioned against a billboard for a rugby game which parodied National’s election hoardings. Now it has taken aim at an exhibition showcasing the late Labour MP Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan’s wardrobe because the opening is due to fall on election day. The Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust has moved the opening to the following weekend after the Electoral Commission advised any reference to the Labour Party would have to be removed on September 20.

Full Article: Electoral Commission conservative in interpretation of law - National - NZ Herald News.

New Zealand: Conservative Party may face fight over new logo | New Zealand Herald

Colin Craig’s Conservative Party may be buying into a fight over the proposed alternative logo it is trying to register with the Electoral Commission. The logo which the party wants to have printed on ballot papers is a round blue speech bubble which simply says “Vote” in white writing. However it was been criticised on Twitter over the weekend, including by Labour’s Northcote candidate Richard Hills who said it was confusing. Electoral Commission rules state a logo will not be accepted if is “offensive, indecent, misleading, confusing, referring to an honour or title, or infringing someone else’s intellectual property rights”.

Full Article: Conservative Party may face fight over new logo - National - NZ Herald News.

Thailand: Prime Minister calls for election, opposition to keep up the fight despite martial law | Deutsche Welle

Caretaker Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan told reporters in Bangkok on Tuesday that his government had written to Thailand’s electoral commission to propose that a general election be held on August 3. He also said he hoped to “submit a royal decree” for the king’s endorsement and that his government would “engage in reforms before the election,” without providing any details. The army announced in the early hours of Tuesday that it was imposing martial law, but also denied that this amounted to a military coup. In a televised statement, the head of the army, General Prayuth Chan-ocha said the move was designed to head off a possible new violent confrontation between supporters of the opposition and the government. “There are some groups with bad intentions to create unrest, and threatening to use weapons on the people,” he said. “I’m asking all those activist groups to stop all activities and cooperate with us in seeking a way out of this crisis,” he added. Earlier, the prime minister had said he supported the army’s decision to impose martial law in an effort to restore order.

Full Article: Thai PM calls for election, opposition to keep up the fight despite martial law | News | DW.DE | 20.05.2014.

Ukraine: Death Threats Haunt Eastern Ukraine as Gunmen Target Vote | Bloomberg

Andriy, a young entrepreneur from Slovyansk, won’t be voting in this weekend’s presidential election for fear masked gunmen who’ve taken over the small Ukrainian city will slay anyone who dares try. Separatists intent on abandoning Ukraine for Russia want to torpedo the ballot and have overrun half of the electoral offices in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions, together known as Donbas. Tactics include abducting voting officials and issuing death threats, the Electoral Commission says. Thirteen servicemen died yesterday amid a push to repel the militants. “You can be killed for showing a position that’s different from them,” said Andriy, who asked that only his first name be used for fear of reprisals. “People have been killed here just because they brought some food to Ukrainian soldiers.”

Full Article: Death Threats Haunt Eastern Ukraine as Gunmen Target Vote - Bloomberg.

Tunisia: Law professor named head of electoral commission | World Bulletin

A majority of Tunisian Constituent Assembly members on Thursday voted for a prominent law professor to become the head of the country’s High Electoral Commission. Law professor Mohamed Shafiq Sersar won 153 votes, out of a total of 203 votes in a heavily attended session. The assembly on Wednesday picked the nine members of the independent commission, while Sersar proved to be a unifying figure for everybody inside the representative body. The High Electoral Commission is due to start its mission by working on a series of technical issues before settling on the date of general elections.

Full Article: Tunisia names law professor head of electoral commission | Middle East | World Bulletin.

Fiji: Electoral Commission members appointed | Fiji Village

The 7 members of the Electoral Commission have been announced today after being appointed by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Those who will make up the 7 member Electoral Commission were revealed by the Attorney General and Minister for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum this afternoon. The Commission is made up of 7 prominent citizens from various walks of life headed by its Chair, leading legal practitioner Chen Bunn Young, who is a former President of the Fiji Law Society. The other members are academic Professor Vijay Naidu of USP, the tourism industry leader and marketing expert James Sowane, accountant and financial advisor Jenny Seeto, the filmmaker and media specialist Larry Thomas, electoral expert and priest Father David Arms and the educationalist and civil society leader Alisi Daurewa. 

Full Article: FijiVillage.com - Fiji's home on the world wide web.

Fiji: Academic says Fiji needs to set up an Electoral Commission as soon as possible | Islands Business

An Auckland University political scientist says the Fiji Government needs to set up an Electoral Commission as soon as possible, in preparation for the country’s approaching elections. A general election is promised for September but the members for the commission and an election supervisor are yet to be appointed. Stephen Ratuva says an Electoral Commission is needed soon. “Some names have been bandied around but nothing has been confirmed yet so they are still looking for people to be on the commission – that’s a very very important aspect of the electoral process – to have a commission in place and also the electoral regulations to be in place before the election. Because the electoral commission will basically look after the election process.”

Full Article: Academic says Fiji needs to set up an Electoral Commission as soon as possible - New Zealand - News - Islands Business magazine.

Editorials: Reforming the Ugandan Electoral Commission is very easy | The Observer

Very many political analysts in Uganda have opined that the current Electoral Commission cannot conduct free and fair election. There seems to be wide agreement that there is need to have an election-management body that fits into the modus operandi or aspirations of the multi-party political dispensation which we embraced in 2005. We should not forget that the current EC was introduced through efforts of a single party; therefore, the perception that it is partial, prevails. This has not been helped by the manner of appointment of commissioners of the EC prescribed in the 1995 Constitution which gives the president the power to appoint the commission and also the power to fire it without recourse to any other body. That is why any right-thinking Ugandan should support the bid by Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) to amend articles of the Constitution that talk about the composition of the EC as well as some sections of the Electoral Commission Act.

Full Article: The Observer - Reforming the Electoral Commission is very easy.

Kenya: Electoral Commission Criticized for Kenya Balloting Dispute | VoA News

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) has come under criticism after the Supreme Court confirmed the electoral victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta. But IEBC Commissioner Yusuf Nzibo says the criticisms are unjustified because the commission faced various challenges during the March general election. Critics say the IEBC oversaw a flawed voting process, which they contend led to an election dispute that was finally settled by the Supreme Court. They also said the electoral commission failed to adequately educate voters in the run up to the vote. Nzibo disagrees.

Full Article: Electoral Commission Criticized for Kenya Balloting Dispute.

Malawi: Electoral commission racing against time in Malawi | Newstime Africa

Local government elections were scheduled to take place in April 2011 but preparations were discontinued due to an impromptu sealing of MEC offices by late president Mutharika in December 2010. However, the commission dares that come May 2014 Malawians will be given the opportunity to vote for ward councillors in addition to electing their parliamentarians and president. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the re-demarcation exercise was not completed in 2010 because the Commission was closed. “At the time of closure, we had only finished collecting information. This information is what the technocrats and experts call scenarios on the new boundaries that would help us develop new maps,” said Commissioner Archbishop Emeritus Dr. Bernard Malango in Chikhwawa Monday January 14 2013.

Full Article: Electoral commission racing against time in Malawi | Newstime Africa.

Guinea: Guinea swears in new electoral commission | Reuters

Guinea has sworn in a new electoral commission after an initial boycott by the opposition, which claimed the government had tampered with its list of nominees, state television announced on Thursday. A political stalemate in the world’s top bauxite producer has since last year stalled legislative polls needed to complete a shift to civilian rule after a 2008 coup and unblock international aid.

Full Article: Guinea swears in new electoral commission | Reuters.

Ghana: EC spells-out electoral offences for 2012 polls | Ghana Business News

The Electoral Commission (EC) on Monday set-out acts and inactions that may constitute electoral offences in Election 2012 and called on the political parties and other democratic stakeholders to respect the laws or face the consequences. The offences include: to make or publish, by written or spoken word or by song, a false statement about the personal character of another candidate or the conduct of a political party; and to excite enmity against a person, group of persons, or political party on grounds of religious, ethnic, professional, regional, or political affiliation. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the EC Chairman, explained that a careful examination of the offences indicated that an election official, a polling agent, a party official, a candidate, a voter, or any member of the general public could commit an election offence.

Full Article: Ghana Business News » EC spells-out electoral offences for 2012 polls.

Ghana: Electioneering, Ghana Style | allAfrica.com

The December elections may prove to be one of the sternest tests faced by Ghana’s electoral commission. Ghana’s Electoral Commission has proven robust in trying circumstances in the past. But the coming elections this December may test its capabilities like never before. A re-drawing of constituency boundaries has provoked cries of foul play and, although lauded in the past for impartiality, the electoral commission faces difficult challenges.

Full Article: allAfrica.com: Ghana: Electioneering, Ghana Style.

Papua New Guinea: One seat, two winners in PNG election | ABC Radio Australia

The deadline for the return of writs in PNG’s elections has been extended, with counting still progressing. Last week PNG’s Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen set the deadline of today Wednesday for all the writs to be returned. But he says that’s now unlikely, with two Highlands provinces starting voting late, and several parts of the country still tallying results. “I will now assess the counting in those provinces that are still ongoing, like the Eastern Highlands, Simbu, Jiwaka, Western Highlands, parts of Southern Highlands, and the Milne Bay province, the Western and Gulf provinces,” he said. “Then I will advise the governor general with the appropriate time frame.”

Full Article: PNG extends election writ deadline | ABC Radio Australia.