WILL THE IEC DEREGISTER SOME POLITICAL PARTIES?

By Muhammad Bah
The IEC is propagating the idea of deregistering some politicalIEC Chairman Carrayol
parties. Mr. Lamin Cham, the Finance Director of the Independent
Electoral commission on Monday 9th February told lawmakers of the
Public Account and Public Enterprise Committee that some of the
political parties need to be deregistered because theirregistration is causing a waste of state resources. He said some
parties would at times give them a number of 15 candidates to contest for a
particular election which they would budget for during the nomination
but they would eventually present only 5 or even less candidates when
they have already used resources which they could not get back.
Cham also said some of these parties are nowhere to be found. “We will
call them, even if we contact them we will not reach them and they do
not have any particular location for their parties,” said Cham.
Hon. Fabakary T. Jatta, Member of Serrekunda East and the Majority
Leader opined that a political party should take part in the
electoral process and if it knows that it is not taking part, it should not waste public resources,” he suggests.
Meanwhile, members of the Joint Committee of the Public Account and
Public Enterprise Committee of the National Assembly at the same
sitting supported the view of the Independent Electoral Commission
that the country should hold both presidential and parliamentary
elections on the same day.
Alh. Mustapha Carrayol, the Chairman of the Independent Electoral
Commission told Deputies that it is possible to hold elections on the same day if the National Assembly
approves the proposition. He however said it would require additional
resources to hold the two elections simultaneously on the same day. He
explained that in the last presidential elections, IEC spent D40
million in 2011 and said if they are to combine the two it could go up
to 120 million dalasis or more. He informed them that the government
is the sole financier of the last elections and the commission is not
getting support elsewhere.
The IEC chairman points out the fact that this would improve the voter
turnout in particular during the parliamentary elections which often
has a lesser turnout percentage compared to the presidential
elections.
He noted that it is all geared to improve the voter turnout in the
country. He expressed his preference in combining presidential and
parliamentary elections together if approved.
Mr. Carrayol added the IEC will need more personnel and logistics to
transport ballot boxes, papers and their agents and staff. He
reiterated the point that the IEC has no problem with conducting the
two together elections if approved.

Hon. Babu Gaye Sonko, a Nominated Member also expressed similar
sentiments supporting the combination of the two elections, adding that otherwise
there would be low voter turnout during parliamentary and
local government elections.
Mr. Alhaji T. S. Njie, subject matter specialist said most of the
voters feel lazy after knowing the result of the presidential results,
adding this contributes to low voter turnout during parliamentary and local government elections.
“If it is combined people will not say that this party won the
presidential election so I will not bother myself in the parliamentary one,” said
the Majority Leader.
IEC Chairman Carrayol

Editor’s Note

While holding Presidential and National Assembly Elections may be
ideal approval of the idea by the National Assembly is not enough. It
is the constitution which says that National Assembly elections
shall be held four months after the council elections. Hence there
will be need for a constitutional amendment.