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BDNP continues fight for PR seats

 

BDNP’s lawyer King’s Counsel Molefi Ntlhoki
BDNP’s lawyer King’s Counsel Molefi Ntlhoki

Tefo Tefo

THE Basotho Democratic National Party (BDNP) is still fighting for a seat in the National Assembly.

The party on Monday urged the Court of Appeal to rule the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) made a mistake by omitting votes for independent candidates when allocating proportional representation (PR) seats after the 28 February 2015 snap elections.

After the party lost a petition against the IEC in the High Court on 24 September 2015 on the issue, it appealed the decision hence Monday’s hearing. However, the Court of Appeal reserved judgment to 29 April 2016.

Addressing the court on Monday, BDNP lawyer, King’s Counsel Molefi Ntlhoki said the IEC broke the electoral law by omitting the votes in question.

“The law makes it clear that all valid votes should be included to make what we call a national vote so that any calculation is made on proper figures.

“It is clear that if all votes, including those that were cast for independent candidates, were included, the allocation of seats in the National Assembly would have been affected,” King’s Counsel (KC) Ntlhoki said.

The electoral law defines an independent candidate as a political party for purposes of elections, he added.

“If we are to go by that interpretation of what a party is, it means the votes cast for independent candidates should have been included when calculating the national vote for the allocation of proportional representation seats,” he said.

However, the lawyer representing the IEC, KC Karabo Mohau said electoral schedules describe how a party is considered for proportional representation.

KC Mohau said the law stipulates that for a party to be considered for PR, it should submit a list of candidates to the IEC to show its interest.

He said it was the independent candidates’ decision to waive their right to be considered for proportional representation and the IEC was right in omitting their votes.

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