Politics

Senate Empowers INEC To Deregister Political Parties

The Senate on Wednesday voted in support of an amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 which empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission to deregister any political party which fails to win at least a seat in any State House of Assembly in the country.

The upper chamber took the decision while voting on clauses in the amended act as contained in Section 68 of the constitution which deals with INEC’s management of political parties and elections.

Efforts by the electoral body to get legal or constitutional powers to axe non-performing parties in the past were frustrated through litigation.

All the 89 senators, who participated in the voting exercise, were in support of Clause 6 of the amended act empowering INEC to de-register political parties which fail to win presidential, governorship, chairmanship of a local government area council, or a seat in the National or states Assembly elections.

The Senate also approved clause six and seven, which seek the alteration of Section 68 and 109 to mandate the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Clerks of States Houses of Assembly to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission  of any vacancy.

Specifically, the clerks are expected to write within seven days of the existence of a vacancy arising from death, resignation or defection of a member of the National Assembly or a member of the State House of Assembly respectively.

The senators also voted in support of clauses four and five  which also seek to alter Section 134 and 179 that relate with the extension of the time for conducting presidential and governorship re-run.

The clauses prescribed  the extension from seven days to 21 days after results have been announced.

The red chamber equally voted in support of Clause seven which deals with the conferment of exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court  for the trial of electoral offences.

With the approval, federal high courts would be solely responsible for the trial of offences arising from, pertaining to or connected to the violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act and any other election related act of the National Assembly.

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