POSITION PAPER ON:
POLITICAL PARTY REGISTRATION ACT
SUBJECT: POLITICAL PARTY ACT
The stance of Parti LEPEP (PL) on the Political Party Act is principled as it is in keeping with the overarching objective of the whole electoral reform exercise undertaken under the auspices of the Electoral Commission (EC), which is to provide Seychelles with an equitable electoral system, and grounded in the provisions of the Constitution of the Third Republic.
PL is of the view that this objective can be attained if the Forum on Electoral Reform (FER) embraces an evidenced-based and pragmatic approach meaning that it asks itself what is not working with this piece of legislation and what the evidences in support of this are. Through this approach aspects of the Political Party Act which are problematic, meaning stand in the way of the attainment of the wider objective of achieving an equitable electoral system, will be detected.
PL’s stance is to change what is not working (stand in the way of the objective of making the electoral system equitable) but leave untouched what is working.
Subsequently, PL’s stance on the propositions made by other parties to FER derives from this pragmatic approach. Basically, for any proposition made by another Party, PL would ask: In what ways are the provision of the Act being challenged, problematic? And, what evidence do you have to show for it?
Having run through the Political Party Act and thoroughly analyzed each of its provisions, PL has come to the conclusion that this piece of legislation, which predates the present Constitution, has served the country and its democracy well over the years.
Registration of Political Parties
1.2. (2.2MIN) Democracy is defined by the adjective multi-party which insinuates that it draws its vibrancy from the multitude of political parties existing legally. The law should not be used to deny some political views the status of political party nor force some political parties to go underground. Therefore, PL calls for maintaining the status quo on this point as increasing the number of signatures from its current level of 100 will defeat this underlying democratic principle.
Presentation of accounts
1.3 (2.3MIN) This is already been taken care of under Article 114 of the Constitution which empowers the Registrar to submit a report on the accounts of political parties to the National Assembly. Therefore, PL calls for maintaining the status quo.
Funding of Political Parties from State Funds
1.4 (2.4MIN) PL does not agree with the idea of having separate headings as to how the money is to be used as it impinges on the independence of political parties and besides the auditing of the accounts suffices to deter any misuse of the funds coming from State coffers.
Auditing of Accounts
1.5 (2.5MIN) The auditing is done by the Registrar of Political Parties who submits a report to the National Assembly where the Finance and Public Accounts Committee scrutinizes the report. There is no need to duplicate the auditing process by getting the Office of the Auditor General to do it over again.
Formation of Political alliances
1.6 (2.6MIN) The Constitution makes no mention of political alliances and speaks only of political parties yet this constitutional silence has not hampered the formation of electoral/political alliances in the third Republic. In such circumstances, there no need for a separate piece of legislation to cater for the formation of political alliances.
1.7 (2.7MIN) Maintain the status quo.
1.8 (2.8MIN) There seems to be a contradiction between this proposition to get small parties in the National Assembly and proposition 1.2(2.2) which calls for increasing the number of signatures and proposal. The size of political parties cannot be legally fine-tuned but should be politically determined by the electorate.
Financing of political parties
1.9. (2.9MIN) PL calls for maintaining the status quo. Against the idea of minimum requirement and (1.10) of using the 6.5 million rupees benchmark as it ties the hands of the Government and does not take into consideration the economic situation of the country and the availability of financial resources.
Documents presented by political parties
1.11 (2.11MIN) There is no need for public inspection as any member of the public can lodge an objection under existing provisions of the laws.
1.12. (2.12MIN) This idea is antidemocratic and discriminatory (it favors’ independent candidates).
1.13. (2.13MIN) Maintain the status quo as Constitution does not allow for lowering of minimum age for becoming member of a political Party.
1.14 (2.14MIN) It is for the Court to interpret the meaning of the word “provocative” and political parties cannot deny them that freedom by striking the word from the Act.
Appeal against a registration and against striking off political party
1.15. (2.15MIN) The appeal to the Court of Appeal must be on a point of law only.
1.16 (2.14MIN) There is no need for this as the accounts are audited and submitted to the National Assembly.