Mayors’ election rules stiffened

…Amended Constitution outlaws election of mayor by councillors

THE system of electing mayors by councilors has with immediate effect been outlawed as their election will now be done during the general elections by the general populance.

The amended Constitution has also elongated the tenure of office for the mayor and the council chairperson to a full five year term from the previous one year, effectively stopping the system of electing a Mayor every other year.

According to Article 154 of the new and amended Constitution, the election of the mayor and a Council chairperson shall be conducted under the first-past-the-post electoral system and shall be done by the electorate in a particular district.

This means that the election of the Mayor and the council Chairperson shall be done at the same time as the election of the President, the MP and the councillor.

The amended Constitution has however left the mandate of electing the deputy mayor and the deputy council chairperson from amongst councillors themselves.

As the voters will be voting for the councilors and other candidates in the general election in August this year in any particular district, they will simultaneously be voting for the mayor and the council chairperson.

Article 154 (2) of the amended Constitution states: “There shall be a Mayor and deputy Mayor or Council Chairperson and a deputy council chairperson for every council. A Mayor and Council Chairperson shall be elected under a first-past-the-post electoral system during elections. The Mayor and the Chairperson shall be elected for a term of five years and may be re-elected for one further term of five years.”

The new Constitution stipulates that a political party should Have a national character and promote and uphold national unity as well as promote and practice democracy through regular, free and fair elections within the party.

Meanwhile, the amended Constitution states that a political party shall not be founded on religious, linguistic, racial, ethnic, tribal, gender, sectoral or provincial basis or engages in propaganda based on the mentioned vices.

Political parties are equally not expected to engage in or encourage violence or intimidate its members, supporters, opponents or other persons.

Political parties are also not supposed to engage in corrupt practices.

The Constitution further promulgates that a political party must respect the rights of its members to seek redress from a court or tribunal when aggrieved by a decision of the political party.

Article 50 of the new and amended Constitution states that: “A political party shall not be founded on a religious, linguistic, racial, ethnic, tribal, gender, sectoral, or provincial basis. A political party shall not engage in violence or corrupt practices. A political party shall promote and practice democracy through regular, free and fair elections within the party.”

The amended Constitution has clearly stipulated that a candidate who loses an election as President, Vice-President, Member of Parliament or councilor shall not be eligible during the term of that National Assembly or council for appointment as Minister or Provincial Minister.

The Constitution further dictates that a political party and a candidate contesting an election shall have access to the media, especially during election campaigns.

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