BDNP loses PR seats ap­peal

Lesotho Times - - News - 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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