PR seats court challenge drags on
a LAWYER representing the Basotho democratic national Party (Bdnp) on tuesday urged the High Court to nullify the allocation of Proportional representation (Pr) seats for the present 9th Parliament.
King’s Counsel (KC) Advocate Molefi Ntlhoki ntlhoki made the plea when addressing a panel of three High Court judges namely Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi and Justice Semapo Peete in a case in which the Bdnp is challenging the allocation of 40 PR seats for the National Assembly following the 28 February snap elections.
The three judges were sitting as a Court of disputed returns in line with the national Assembly Elections Act of 2011.
advocate ntlhoki’s complaint was the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) erred by excluding the votes of independent candidates when calculating the Pr seats.
He submitted the exclusion of the votes resulted in a calculation based on incorrect figures, which disadvantaged the BDNP.
“Our complaint is very simple. We are saying after the elections when it came to the allocation of seats, the first respondent (IEC) did not apply the formulaormula as required by the law.
“If there were valid votes cast for indepenpendent candidates, they hey should have been een included in the totalotal votes to allocate the Pr seats.
“For instance, it is not disputed thatat (timothy) thah- second (with 1715 votes) after the vention (with 3 votes were not tional total votes of Pr seats.
“It is wrong exclude such num- because it’s from the total votes that a quota for calculation and allocation cation of Pr seats is obtained,” d,” advocate
Mr ane came
all Basotho Con143 votes), yet his included in the nafor the calculation
t o bers ntlhoki said.
the lawyer also said the regulation, which dictates the formula for Pr seats allocation, should be declared inconsistent with the spirit of the electoral law because it leaves out valid votes.
However, IEC lawyer Karabo Mohau (KC) said his clients operated in terms of the schedule of the law that dictates how Pr seats should be allocated.
He also said the court had no powers to nullify such as law.
“this honourable court has no powers to grand the prayer that challenges the correctness of Schedule three,” he said.
deputy attorney General tsebang Putsoane also said the IEC acted within the confines of the law in the seats allocation.
according to advocate Putsoane, it would not be proper for the court to order the office of the Attorney General and Parliament to draft a Bill that cancels the present law regulating the allocation of Pr seats.
On his part, democratic Congress (dc) lawyer, Salemane Phafane (KC) urged the court to dismiss the case on the grounds his clients were served with court papers 29 days after the stipulated time. advocate Phafane argued the law stipulates that the complaint shoulds be lodged and served to the resp respondents within 30 days after the an announcement of the results.
“My clients were onl only served on the 18th of May, which is 5 59 days after the announcement of the el election results. “On this ground alone, this application m must be thrown out,” he sa said. ever, J Justice Majara case to 24 September judgme judgment. the IE IEC, the Speaker Assem Assembly, Minister tution tutional and Parliaattorn attorney General, ties that contested ary 2015 national PR MPS have been den dents in the case.
How- postponed the this year for
In addition to of the national of Law, Consti- mentary affairs, all political par- the 28 Febru- elections and 40 cited as respon-
King’s Counsel (KC) Advocate Molefi Ntlhoki Ntlhoki.