INEC WILL DE-REGISTER POLITICAL PARTIES AFTER 2011 ELECTION – JEGA

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will de-register political parties that do not win at least one national or state legislative seat. Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of INEC, said this at a meeting with leaders of political parties on Wednesday in Abuja.

Mr Jega said the amended Electoral Act empowered INEC to deregister a political party that failed to win any national or state assembly seat in an election. “Section 78 (7) empowers INEC to de-register a political party that fails to win any National or State Assembly seat in an election,” he said. “I should also note that under the section, INEC may also cancel a party’s certificate of registration where there is false or misleading information to its registration.”

No new parties allowed

The INEC boss said that no new political party can be registered if elections will take place on January 8, 2011, adding that the development was due to a provision of the amended Electoral Act which stopped the registration of new political parties six months before an election. “This means no new political party can be registered ahead of the next elections, if they are to take place in January 8, 2011,” he said. Mr Jega equally called for a speedy conclusion of the Act amendment process to remove hitches towards conducting free elections in 2011.

Opposition threat

Balarabe Musa, Chairman of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), said the parties opposed President Goodluck Jonathan assenting to the section of the Act that empowered INEC to de-register parties. “Political parties won the right for the formation and registration of our various parties through the court,” he said. “If this fundamental human right is undermined, we would be compelled to go to court.”

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