Proposal to increase PR seats

Proposal to increase PR seats

MASERU – THE National Reforms Authority (NRA) is proposing to increase the number of Proportional Representation seats from the current 40 to 60.
The authority also wants the first-past-the-post seats reduced from 80 to 60.
That means there will be an equal number of proportional representation and first-past-the-post seats.
The NRA chairman, Chief Pelele Letsoela, told a press conference on Tuesday that the change is meant to increase the representation of women, the people living with disabilities and other marginalised groups in parliament.

Political parties that have qualified for PR seats will be forced to consider these groups when they choose their PR candidates.
“It can only be possible to accommodate such groups with the PR seats,” Chief Letsoela said.
Chief Letsoela said they have sent several other proposed laws to the Attorney General for legal review.
He said they were just waiting for the Attorney General’s input before they could hand the Omnibus Bill 2021 to Justice Minister Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane to table in parliament.

The Omnibus Bill consists of several proposed laws but it does not include the proposal to change the PR seats in parliament as that one has not yet reached the Bill stage.
He said the NRA has completed the first phase of reforming the constitution.
“These changes are all in the Omnibus Bill and the CEO has passed it to the Attorney General,” he said.
He also said after the certificate is issued by the Attorney General it will be handed over to the NRA chairman to pass it to the Justice Minister who will take it to parliament.

He added that the NRA’s 14th plenary meeting met from 27 September to 1 October where under the judiciary the changes were made that there should be a hiring committee that will advise the King on the appointment of judges “as a way of depoliticising the courts”.
He said there will also be a special court established to work with the appeals and the constitutional cases and “it will be headed by the Chief Justice”.

He also said they have proposed that the High Court should be decentralised so that there will be one in Maseru to cover the central region of the country while two others will be in Leribe for the northern part and in Mohale’s Hoek for the south.
“The three courts will be headed by judge presidents,” he said.
Chief Letsoela said they have also proposed a special court to try corruption cases.

The Omnibus Bill proposes that a sitting Prime Minister should only be toppled in parliament by a two-thirds majority “so that he does not sit there with fear like a bird”.
He said they also decided that there should be a parliamentary service commission that will help hire officers at the parliament unlike now when the government is handling the recruitment.

Nkheli Liphoto

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