OFFICE OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
The Electoral Commission has responded to the Attorney-General’s reaction with regards to the Reform on the Public Order Act.
In a letter to the Attorney-General, the Electoral Commission was gratified to note that Government appreciated the contribution of the Electoral Commission towards the electoral reform process.
The Electoral Commission recognized that the existing Public Order Act is an “overarching” piece of legislation covering all aspects of law and order in the country. However, the Electoral Commission consulted most recent legislation from other countries and considered what is deemed to be international good practice in promoting democracy as well as being guided by our Constitution. The Electoral Commission is firm in its belief that the current Public Order Act which dates from 1959 is outdated and needs to be revoked and replaced with a fresh new Act which reflects the desires of the President to “continue to promote democracy in our country” and “that Seychelles can become a shining example for the good governance and democracy in the world.”
The Electoral Commission is conscious of its mandate as stated in Article 115A of the Constitution which states clearly that the Electoral Commission “shall review existing legislation governing electoral matters and make recommendations to the Government”. The Electoral Commission believes that recommendations can include introduction of new legislation. In proposing a draft legal instrument to the President, the Electoral Commission had no intention of usurping the authority of the Attorney-General’s Office, but this was meant to bring greater clarity to the principles of the Commission’s recommendations.
Furthermore, the Electoral Commission noted that a response on the Public Order Act had taken over 5 months and expressed concern at the time taken to consider the reforms. The Electoral Commission brought to the attention of the Attorney-General that immediately after the Parliamentary Elections in 2011; the President issued a reminder to the Commission to “speed up electoral reform”.
Dated 11th February 2013