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BDNP loses PR seats appeal

by Lesotho Times


BDNP’s lawyer King’s Counsel Molefi Ntlhoki

BDNP’s lawyer King’s Counsel Molefi Ntlhoki

Tefo Tefo

THE Basotho Democratic National Party (BDNP) has lost a court battle to nullify the allocation of Proportional Representation (PR) seats in the National Assembly following the February 2015 snap election.

The party lodged an application before the High Court on 1 April 2015 seeking an order to nullify the seat allocation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The BDNP was not allocated any seat, prompting its application before the High Court, sitting as a Court of Disputed Returns.

In its arguments, the party noted the calculation of the PR seats did not take into consideration independent candidates’ 5 651 votes.

The BDNP argued if those votes were considered it could have obtained at least one seat.

On 26 November 2015, the High Court dismissed the application with costs, but the BDNP appealed the ruling.

However, the Court of Appeal on Friday last week dismissed the challenge but did not award costs.

Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Farlam said: “It is clear, in my view, that the conversion of constituency votes into party votes under Section 55 can only occur in respect of constituency votes which have been cast for parties or independent candidates (who are equated for this purpose with parties) which or who have chosen in terms of section 47 (1) to participate in Proportional Representation elections.

“When the 40 Proportional Representation seats are to be allocated under Section 104 (3), it is already clear from the provisions of the Act that votes cast for parties or independent candidates which or who have not so chosen, cannot be taken into account.

“In the circumstances, the appeal must fail. This being a constitutional matter, I am satisfied that no order for costs should be made.”

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