By Mbono Mdluli | 2018-04-23
THE Election of women members to the House of Assembly Bill, 2018 has been tabled in Parliament.
The Bill was tabled by Acting Prime Minister Paul Dlamini in the House of Assembly before the break to allow the 50/50 celebrations. Parliamentarians want to enact the legislation into law before the current Parliament’s dissolution.
By the time elections are conducted later this year, the Act should be in place to give effect to the constitutional obligation, which calls for at least 30 per cent representation by women.
This legislation is expected to force MPs to elect four women into the House of Assembly, with one woman coming from each region. The legislation will only apply if it is found that there isn’t 30 per cent representation of women in Parliament.
The elections, according to this legislation, are expected to take place at the first meeting of the House, after general elections. The House will not resume business until this obligation is met. This will only apply if the women do not form 30 per cent representation in the House.
A woman will only be eligible to be elected only if she is registered in terms of the Voters Registration Act of 2013. The woman should also qualify to be a legislator, in terms of Section 96 of the Constitution, and should also be nominated from an umphakatsi, in terms of Section 31 of the Elections Act, 2013.
It is worth noting that if a woman has not been nominated from an umphakatsi, the House shall make nominations from a list provided by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
At the first meeting of the members of the House after the general elections, the members of the House shall nominate women on regional basis.
Members of the House shall nominate not less than three and not more than five women from each region to be members of the House. On the nomination day, the returning officer shall call for nomination of candidates. Each member may propose not more than five candidates per region in order of preference of that member and tender to the returning officer a nomination paper.
The EBC, after nominations, is expected to publish nominated candidates in at least two local newspapers and in the electronic media for at least three consecutive days. A nominated candidate has a right to canvass for votes from MPs at any time after the nominations. If a nominated candidate happens to die before the elections, the Returning Officer will make an announcement and call for further nominations.
Elections are supposed to take place 10 days after the nominated candidates have been published. In case of a vacancy, elections should take place 45 days after the vacancy has occurred
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