Party to challenge proposed nomination fee increase

Pangu Party and Deputy Opposition Leader, Sam Basil, announced today that his party intends to challenge the proposed law on the increase of nomination fee for intending candidates.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill recently reaffirmed his plans to increase the candidate nomination fee from K1,000 to K10,000, and fees for election petitions from K5,000 to K20,000.

Basil highlighted that the proposed amendments are wrong and unconstitutional.

They will mount an immediate court challenge and have that law stayed by the court, and determine whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional.

Basil said the Electoral Commission’s function is not to raise money to fund itself, it’s a constitutional office and it’s the responsibility of the Government to fund it.

“We consider that the purpose of this law was not in the interest of the constitution but is basically to give an advantage to those who are in government and who have money.

“Parliament has the right to pass this law but we intend to challenge it,” Basil said.

The change in nomination fees denies a majority of eligible citizens their reasonable opportunity to stand for election, stated the Deputy Opposition Leader.

Section 50 (1) of the Constitution states that citizens have the right to stand for public office and section 50 (2) of the Constitution, on free to and equal participation by citizens in the election process.

There are three firms they are in discussions with and once that is confirmed, they will announce the details.

Basil will consult the Opposition next week to gauge its support and he is also calling on all intending candidates to come on board to support this campaign.

O’Neill recently announced in Parliament that he is now waiting on the Electoral Commission to consider NEC’s recommendations before introducing the proposed amendments in Parliament.

O’Neill claims amendments are necessary as elections were costly and the increase would assist Electoral Commission to generate funds in instances of costs overrun during the elections.

Quintina Naime