Court extends return of writs

The Supreme Court has ordered an extension of the return of writs to Monday, July 31, at 2pm.

The Ombudsman Commission filed a special reference in the Supreme Court and successfully obtained the orders on Friday at 4:30pm.

The court allowed for the extension of the return of writs from July 28 to July 31.

Ombudsman Commission was ordered to serve the court orders on the Electoral Commission by Friday 10pm.

The Clerk of Parliament and Secretary for Justice will also have to be served the orders by 2pm of Saturday, July 29.

The writs were returned to the head of state on Friday at 4pm, however only 80 of the 111 electorates’ writs were given. 

At the time the writs were returned, 88 seats had been declared but only 80 writs were returned.

The Ombudsman Commission went to court seeking the extension to ensure the remaining electorates’ writs can be returned and elected MPs can have a say in the election of the speaker of parliament and prime Minister.

Parliament will meet on Wednesday, August 2. This date was moved forward from the initial date from Friday, August 4.

Meanwhile, the Governor-General has granted permission to Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato to extend the deadline for the remaining writs from seats that are yet to be declared.

This was made known by Commissioner Gamato at the return of writs on Friday at Government House.

He said he hopes to return the remaining writs from the 25 electorates by 4pm on Monday.

Tuesday 1st of August will be the 5th anniversary of the return of writs from the previous National Election and any extension beyond that will be unconstitutional.

Elections must be conducted within the three months allowed for in the Constitution. 

Sally Pokiton