0502 2017 National and LLG Elections Dates

The Electoral Commissioner says by law – section 299 of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections (OLNLLGE) and section 34(1) of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-level Government (OLPLLG) – both National and LLG elections can be run together, by the use of the words “run concurrently. Parliament term is five years hence the term of office for LLGs must be concurrent with the term of Parliament.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato announced today (Friday, 5 February 2017) that the 2017 National Election will be held concurrently in 2017.

He outlined the 2017 Election Program as follows:

  • Issue of Writs & Nominations Open Thursday 20th April, 2017

  • Nominations Close Thursday 27th April 2017

  • Polling Starts Saturday 24th June, 2017

  • Polling Ends Saturday 08th July, 2017

  • Return of Writs on or before Monday 24th July, 2017

  • Return of Writs for LLG Election Monday 07th August, 2017

​Mr. Gamato said the nomination period is seven days (20-27 April), campaign period is eight weeks (20 April-8 July) and polling period is 14 days (24 June-8 July).

The Electoral Commissioner explained that by law – section 299 of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections (OLNLLGE) and section 34(1) of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-level Government (OLPLLG) – both National and LLG elections can be run together, by the use of the words “run concurrently”.

“The term of National Parliament is five years hence the term of office for LLGs must be concurrent with the term of Parliament.”

“If the writs for the LLGs are issued in accordance with the term of Parliament, the LLGs will fully operate until the return of their writs like the National Parliament,” he said.

Commissioner Gamato further explained that section 105(1) of the Constitution states that the general elections to the National Parliament shall be held every five years which is clear.

He, however, said that there is no specific provision in either of the Organic Laws (OLNLLGE and OLPLLG) that set out a separate time period for the term of the Local-level Governments, except that the “term shall be the same as and run concurrently with the term of Parliament”.

“This simply means that the term for LLGs is also five years but to run concurrent with the term of Parliament. There is no separate five years for the LLGs to operate in. LLGs term of office hinges on the existence of the term of Parliament.”

“Therefore, the term of Local-level Governments is to run concurrently with the term of Parliament. LLGs do not have a separate five-year term of their own and cannot operate for an extra term beyond life of Parliament except for the extended period of three months under OLNLLGE and OLPLLG,” Mr. Gamato said.

He added that this is further strengthened by the fact that section 34(3) of the OLPLLG states that, “where the Parliament is dissolved and a general election is held in accordance with section 105(1)(b) (no confidence) or (c) (dissolving of Parliament) of the Constitution, the term of Local-level Governments shall be deemed to have expired, but the members hall continue in office until the day fixed for the return of writs for the general elections for the Local-level Government.”

Mr. Gamato said when a Parliamentary vote of no confidence occurs within the last 12 months or when Parliament is dissolved by an absolute majority vote, a general election becomes mandatory for Parliament and at the same time the term of LLGs is deemed to have expired and a new election for that as well shall be conducted.

“Our legislators have envisaged that there may be circumstances that may not allow the conduct of both elections at the same time. Therefore, they have allowed for the extended period of three months under section 34(1) of the OLPLLG and section 299 of the OLNLLGE,” he said.

The Electoral Commissioner, however, made it clear that the term of office for both the Parliament and the Local-level Governments “are the same as and run concurrently”.

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Meanwhile, Mr. Gamato pointed out that because the term of office of LLGs is to run concurrently with that of the Parliament, the LLGs term will end when the term of Parliament expires, LLG Presidents and Ward Councilors cannot be compensated their benefits for one year (2018) as the term of office has shortened in accordance with the term of Parliament.

“There is, therefore, no personal right given to each president or councilor for a term beyond what the law allows. They cannot claim for entitlements for a period beyond the date for the return of LLGs writs in 2017,” he said.

In the meantime, the Electoral Commissioner announced that the Electoral Commission will only conduct Council Ward elections in 2017 and not the LLG Presidential elections and Minister will issue writs for the Council Wards only.

Mr. Gamato said this follows the National Executive Council’s decision in December 2015 to abolish the election of LLG Presidents by the people and approved that LLG Presidents be voted from amongst the Ward Members.

He said this decision has been referred to the First Legislative Counsel for drafting of law.

“The National Executive Council has now determined that the election of Presidents be done by Councilors under section 12(1)(b) of the Local-level Government Administration Act 1997.”

“As such, the Electoral Commission will not be required to conduct the Presidential elections in 2017 except for the Council Ward elections,” Mr. Gamato said.

He said writs for the LLG elections can be returned to the Minister at a date after return of return of the Parliamentary writs after a new Minister has been appointed.

ALPHONSE MUAPI
Media Officer

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