AUEOM recommends 50+1 percent in new Constitution

THE African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) has recommended that the Zambian Parliament should immediately consider the 50+1 percent majority when enacting the new Constitution vote because the first past the post formula was a negation of the authority and legitimacy the president would enjoy through the will of the majority.

The AUEOM says there was need to review the electoral system so that it could provide for a clause that would see a presidential candidate elected by absolute majority.

AUEOM head of mission Ngalema Montlante said it was the view of the mission that the Zambian Constitution should have a reasonable limit for the resolution of electoral related disputes prior to the swearing-in of a new president because the current law of swearing-in a president-elect within 24 hours did not provide room to contest the results for the losing candidates.

Mr Montlante said there was need for the electoral law to be amended to include regulatory provisions on party campaign financing.

Giving a preliminary statement on the country’s presidential election, Mr Montlante said there was a lacuna in the Zambian Constitution as it was silent on how to deal with a tie between two or more contestants in a presidential election.

Mr Montlante said it was important for the Zambian Parliament to make amendments to the Constitution to address the constitutional and electoral lacunas before the 2016 general elections.

“Based on the observations and findings up to the close of poll on January 20, 2015, the AUEOM offers the Zambian Parliament should give immediate attention to the pending constitution amendment bill to strengthen the legal framework to include the review of the electoral system to provide for the president to be elected by absolute majority. The electoral system should also provide for a reasonable time limit for the resolution of electoral related disputes prior to the swearing-in of a new president,” Mr Montlante said.

Mr Montlante said AUEOM had noted that the voter turnout was generally low but was satisfied that the Electoral Commission of Zambia successfully conducted the presidential election within a limited timeframe and other logistical constraints such as unfavourable weather.

He said AUEOM noted with satisfaction that the pre-election contest was overall peaceful and calm although there were reports of sporadic violence in some parts of the country during the campaigns.

He said the ECZ and the Zambians in general should be recommended for their tolerance and peaceful conduct during the campaigns, voting and the eventual announcements of the results.

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