According to Section 85 (1) of the 1991 Constitution, “Parliament shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of five years commencing from the date of its first sitting after a general election”. The first sitting of the present Parliament after the 2012 Elections was December 7, 2012, Clerk of Parliament Ibrahim S. Sesay, confirmed to this Writer Tuesday January 24, 2017. This means that Parliament stands dissolved December 7, 2017.
Section 87 (1) states “A General Election of Members of Parliament shall be held not earlier than thirty (30) and not more than ninety (90) days from the date of the dissolution of Parliament.” The operative words are “not earlier than 30 (thirty) and not more than ninety (90) days after the dissolution of Parliament”.
By simple calculation, if Parliament stands dissolved by December 7, 2017, and elections should be held between January 7, 2018 and March 7, 2018, the latest, then the two dates proposed by the National Electoral Commission NEC), February 3, 2018 and February 17, 2018, are within the period of “not later than ninety days after the dissolution of Parliament”.
By tradition, both Presidential and Parliamentary Elections are held on the same date.
TENURE OF OFFICE OF PRESIDENT – section 46 subsection (1) of the 1991 Constitution states:- “No person shall hold office for more than two-terms of five years each whether or not the terms are consecutive.”
According to knowledgeable sources close to the CRC, ON ELECTIONS – the CRC has proposed:- “there shall be a FIXED DATE for holding NATIONAL ELECTIONS.
“Both Presidential and Parliamentary elections should be held concurrently on a FIXED DATE.”
On INAUGURATION, CRC has proposed “there shall be FIXED DATE for the inauguration of the elected President.”
The CRC has also proposed “Proportional Representation” to be included in the Revised Constitution” and in this regard “the threshold should be 30 (thirty) percent of the popular vote.”
Clarence Roy-Macaulay OOR
2006 AP (Associated Press) Gramling Spirit Award Winner
Retired (1989) controller (News & Current Affairs)
Former Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.