Parliamentary committee backs November 7 election date
Electoral Commission (EC)’s plans to change Presidential and Parliamentary elections from December to November is poised for success as a parliamentary committee gives it backing.
A report by the Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament on Monday supported the move and hence legislators from the Majority and Minority sections of the House will now have to either vote to accept or reject the proposal.
Although the move to amend Article 112 of the Constitution could breach ECOWAS protocols, Committee members say because key stakeholders have been consulted, there will not be any breach.
A key concern that came up during a public forum on the bill was that amending the constitution less than six months to elections would be in breach of Article 2 of the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance, which disallows modifications in electoral laws six months to elections.
The Committee also said in its report that it took into consideration the EC’s assurance that it will be able to conduct and manage the general elections in November despite delays and adjustments made to its elections calendar.
The Committee also said it was convinced that the EC is financially positioned to hold the elections, dismissing funding challenges sceptics raised.
Parliamentarians from both sections of the house are scheduled to debate the report of the Committee, Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Committee has recommended that there should be a change in the date for the conduct of general elections from December 7 to the first Monday in November in an election year instead of on a specific date.
According to the committee, holding the presidential and parliamentary elections in November would allow for sufficient time between elections and the handover of power to an incoming government.
That would also ensure a smooth transition and reduce acrimony and prevent the chaotic situation where former ministers of state are recalled to provide information to the incoming government on matters of the state.
The committee further stated that the reason for choosing the first Monday of November would prevent the inconvenience associated with some days of the week which had the tendency of affecting voter turnouts, such as Friday or Sunday.