Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Gov't drafting fixed elections law

Published:Friday | September 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
In this file photo, a police officer casts his vote at the Police Academy in Twickenham Park, Spanish Town, during the local government elections.
An election day worker places a ballot in a box during a local government election at the United Theological College in the Papine division in St Andrew.

The Andrew Holness administration is working feverishly to table legislation in Parliament for the establishment of fixed election dates in Jamaica.

Holness told journalists at his second quarterly press conference yesterday at Jamaica House that drafting instructions had been given by the Government for legislation to be crafted that would ultimately give effect to a system of fixed election dates.

"I would say that if the process finishes before the end of the year, we would want to take that bill as quickly as possible. We welcome all the suggestions that are being made about a fixed time for calling by-elections, and this is something that we agree with. In fact, within the framework of the fixed election date, we would also address calling by-elections within a specified period of time."

Holness pledged in the run-up to the 2016 general election that an administration led by him would introduce a system of fixed election dates.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips raised concern on Sunday about delays in the naming of a date for by-elections to fill vacant positions in the St Andrew South, St Andrew South West, and St Mary South East constituencies.

"The window for these assurances has already passed, and no date has been announced," Phillips told the 79th annual conference of the People's National Party at the National Arena.

Yesterday, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) reported that it was well advanced in proposing amendments to the Representation of the People Act that would determine a prescribed time frame for the holding of parliamentary by-elections.

The ECJ said that it was also carrying out research in the comparative experiences of countries in adopting fixed election dates for national elections.