…Article 106 (6)
The “Joint Communiqué” from the meeting between the President and the Opposition Leader was finally released late Thursday. Your Eyewitness wasn’t surprised that the faint hope he had for the President harking to the norms of parliamentary practice was dashed. His worst fears were confirmed: the President refused to budge an inch from the rearguard action mounted by his party while he was in Cuba getting his chemotherapy treatment. The inmates are now running the asylum!!
Take the timeline for new elections: Article 106 (6) is unambiguous as can be – they SHALL be held in THREE months after a no-confidence vote!! Article 106 (7) specifies that this period can ONLY be extended with a two-thirds vote of the National Assembly – meaning the Opposition HAS to agree. But while the Communiqué had the President agreeing with the Opposition Leader on the Article 106 (7) METHOD of extending the three-month time frame, he refused to accept the mandatory nature of Article 106 (6) if the Opposition refuses to authorise any extension.
He insists that the “readiness” of GECOM and the processing of his cases in the courts can stave off the elections in THREE months!! This is absolutely ridiculous!! GECOM’s always supposed to be in a state of readiness for elections. More so after they just came off an LGE!
Furthermore, the day following the no-confidence resolution – December 22 – the CEO of GECOM said he was getting together his staff to prepare their strategy for conducting the elections in the time frame. That’s over two weeks ago and they haven’t uttered a squeak that they face any constraint!! Three billion dollars has already been voted for GECOM in the 2019 Budget for General and Regional Elections!
So now we hear Amna Ally saying they can’t see GECOM because the chair isn’t there, you can figure where this is heading!! The Chairman, we know, is seriously ill, and has had his sick leave extended to January 22! How do we know he’ll be better by then?? Can the doctor tell an 85-year-old patient to go to work, when he insists he’s still sick??
But the GECOM Chair has no responsibility for the OPERATIONAL readiness of GECOM – that’s the responsibility of the CEO Lowenfield and his Deputy Myers. WE know the last time he was needed, Lowenfield couldn’t be found – but did Ally seek him out??
Democracy’s being asphyxiated by the PNC. Once again!
…Article 106 (7)
The Communiqué declared: “the Leader of the Opposition contended that while the Government remains in office in accordance with Article 106 (7) of the Constitution, its functions must be confined to the provision of essential services of the State and to matters in relation to preparation for General and Regional Elections.
On the other hand: “The President emphasised that the Government is legal and that it must govern without any limitations on its authority. His Excellency further stated that there is no provision in the Constitution which imposes limitation on the Government to perform its lawful functions.”
How can this circle – the functioning of the National Assembly in the no-confidence interregnum – be squared? We can look at how others did it. We’ve repeatedly cited the 1979 no-confidence vote majority secured by Thatcher’s Tories against Labour. Twenty years later, in India, the BJP coalition also lost by one vote against the Opposition.
But unlike the PNC, the losers both resigned, and went into elections.
While taking no major initiatives in Parliament!!
…the letter and the spirit of the Constitution
No Constitution can cover all historical contingencies. But that’s where responsible governments will work out accommodations in the democratic spirit of their Constitutions.
How can the PNC occupy Government with 33 seats, yet claim it’s NOT a majority?