ECZ’s Isaacs says 50+1 is costly, should be dropped from constitution

ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) director Priscilla Isaacs says the 50-percent-plus-one threshold for a winning presidential candidate is costly.

Ms Isaacs, however, said ECZ has endorsed the 50-percent-plus-one clause but that a re-run is costly and tiring.

She said it would be a relief if the clause is dropped from the draft constitution.

“The cost implication is there. Quite honestly even in terms of the work involved as a commission and for me as a director of elections, I would not want to go for a second election.

“The clause was strongly supported by political parties but as I sit here I don’t think the commission would have strong objection if this clause was not supported. As a matter of fact, I would sigh with relief if the clause was dropped,” Ms Isaacs said.

She said this yesterday when she appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs chaired by Choma Member of Parliament (MP) Cornelius Mweetwa.

Ms Isaacs said ECZ is mindful of the danger of being too imposing and have people say “oh, because the ECZ has said” and then the debate is blocked.

She said ECZ has a duty to conduct its work and has notified the Ministry of Finance what the cost implication of a re-run would be.

Ms Isaacs said additional cost implications would include printing of ballot papers, voter sensitisation and publicity and the logistics of paying the people in the field.

“Once you are done with an election with all the pressure, you don’t want to have another one immediately. It is tedious. You just want to carry on with life,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Isaacs submitted that while ECZ supports holding general elections in the second week of August, the date may not be feasible for the 2016 tripartite elections as it has adverse implications on voter registration.

“The month of August may not be ideal for holding the 2016 elections as voter registration ends next year. Certifying of the register is scheduled for July 31 next year,” Ms Isaacs said.

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