THE date for holding general elections has been ‘changed’ and Zambia could have the 2016 general elections on the second Thursday of August instead of September, the Constitution Amendment Bill has proposed.
It has also been proposed in the Bill that if the initial ballot for a presidential candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast, a re-run shall be held within 37 days of the initial ballot.
In the presidential re-run, the only presidential candidates to contest shall be the ones who would have obtained the highest and second highest court of the valid votes cast in the initial ballot.
The Bill has also provided that the Republican President shall twice in every year attend and address the National Assembly as opposed to the tradition of the Head of State only opening the House once every year.
The Bill further provides that a person shall petition the Constitutional Court to nullify the election of a President within seven days of the declaration of the election results.
The Bill has also provided that the general elections shall be free from violence, intimidation and corruption and that the electoral process shall be independent, accountable, efficient as well as transparent.
Government through the Constitution Amendment Bill has provided a simple and practical system of voting and tabulating votes and that the resolution of electoral disputes shall be timely.
While the Bill provides for dual citizenship, it has disqualified any person from contesting or being elected as Republican President if that person has dual citizenship or is a public officer.
A person shall be disqualified from being nominated as a candidate for election as President if that person was removed from public office on grounds of gross misconduct in the immediate preceding five years or is holding or acting in a Constitutional office.
“A general election shall be held every five years after the last general election and on the second Thursday of August and the day on which a general election is held shall be a public holiday. The elections shall be free from violence, intimidation and corruption. The election shall be independent, accountable, efficient and transparent. If at the initial ballot a presidential candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast, a second ballot shall be held within 37 days of the initial ballot where the only candidates shall be the presidential candidates who obtained the highest and second highest number of valid votes cast in the initial election,” states part of the Bill.
The Bill has also provided that political parties shall promote and practice democracy through regular, free and fair elections within the party and that they shall respect the rights of their members who would seek redress from a court or tribunal when aggrieved by the decision of his or her political party. It has been promulgated that a political party shall not be founded on religious, linguistic, racial, ethnic, tribal, gender sectoral or provincial basis and that the political party shall not engage in propaganda on the named vices.
The Bill provides that political parties shall not engage or encourage violence or intimidate its members, supporters, opponents or any other person nor shall such political parties be allowed to engage in corruption.