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Seychelles - new constitutional amendment bill proposed

Seychelles - new constitutional amendment bill proposed (Forimmediaterelease.net) The Seychelles Constitutional Review Committee’s Report of December 2009, addressed to the President of the Republic, had recommended that Article 115 of the constitution be amended to provide for an Electoral Commission comprising three members, as opposed to the existing office of the Electoral Commissioner.

Accordingly, on June 10, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a bill proposing an amendment to the constitution whereby an Electoral Commission would be created, comprising three persons appointed using procedure similar to that for the appointment of the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA).

Following further deliberations by Seychelles National Assembly Members of Parti Lepep, a decision was taken to withdraw the amendment as originally proposed. During its meeting of June 30, the cabinet approved an alternative version of the amendment to the constitution, which would provide for the establishment of a larger Electoral Commission, comprising five members, including the chairperson. The members would be appointed by the President from nominations made by the CAA.

Allowing the CAA to make nominations has the advantage that the CAA can invite applications from suitably qualified and experienced citizens to serve on the Electoral Commission, and for the CAA to review such applications and make appropriate recommendations. This procedure also distances the appointment of members of the Electoral Commission from undue political influence. It also provides an avenue for members of civil society, other institutions, and aspiring citizens, to apply for membership to the commission.

Once the Electoral Commission has been established, the commission would immediately begin work to review all existing legislation relating to presidential, legislative, and other elections in Seychelles, and matters pursuant to Articles 117 and 118 of the constitution, e.g., the funding and expenditure of political parties in the context of election campaigns.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alain St. Ange, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, Email: alain.s@seychelles.com

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