Opposition wants special parliamentary seats for losing presidential candidates

The Opposition leadership in Parliament is preparing a private members’ bill that seeks to offer special seats in Parliament for presidential aspirants who garner 10 percent of the vote in a presidential election.

The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament  (LOP) Betty Aol Ocan said that such presidential candidates should have seats as ex-officio members in a bid to have an independent Parliament.

Addressing a press conference at her boardroom, Ocan said the Opposition will seek leave of Parliament to present the bill.

“We shall move a private members bill entitled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019 since the government has failed to present the necessary bills,” Ocan said.

This comes a day after Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire told Parliament that the government bill for the necessary electoral reforms is not yet ready.

Otafiire indicated that the earliest government can bring the bill to Parliament is after six months, a period that MPs from either sides of the House said will be too short for the timely enactment of the reforms ahead of the 2021 elections.

In the planned bill by the Opposition, Ocan said, they will seek for the reinstatement of presidential term limits, the introduction of federal governments and the constitution of an independent electoral commission.

“The bill also seeks to have majority and minority leaders of Parliament, strengthening the military by withdrawing them from parliament and any partisan institutions and having a limited cabinet of not more than 21 Ministers,” Ocan said.