Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Senators, MPs to be sworn in today - No reason to void any election result, Constituted Authority says
Jamaica Gleaner
published: Thursday | November 14, 2002

THE CONSTITUTED Authority announced yesterday that it would not ask the Election Court to void any of the 60 results from the October 16 general election, paving the way for today's swearing-in of the 60 men and women who were declared winners.

As a result, the seat count of 34 to the People's National Party, and 26 to the Jamaica Labour Party, will stand. The 60 Members of Parliament and 21 Senators will be sworn in by Shirley Lewis, Clerk to the Houses of Parliament. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at Gordon House, Duke Street, central Kingston.

The PNP's Phyllis Mitchell was the last Member of Parliament to be unseated by the Election Court. This took place in June 2001, three-and-a-half years into the life of the last Parliament. Mr. Justice Basil Reid handed her St. Catherine North Eastern seat to the JLP's Abe Dabdoub, who had complained of voter irregularity in the general election of December 18, 1997.

Ten requests for the voiding of the October 16 election were filed with the Authority by losing candidates in St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Mary and St. Elizabeth. All were rejected.

"The Constituted Authority concluded that although most of the complaints were valid, the irregularities were not sufficient to have caused a distortion of the election results," a statement issued by the Electoral Office of Jamaica said yesterday.

Mr. Justice R.G. Langrin, chairman of the Authority, said that in the circumstances, the Authority "concluded that there had not been a substantial distortion or subversion of the process of a free and fair election".

Section 37 of the Election Petitions Act sets out the grounds on which the Constituted Authority may apply to the Election Court for the voiding of the taking of a poll. These include:

An upsurge of violence or any irregularity during election day in one or more polling stations or polling divisions or in any electoral division or constituency which would lead to a substantial distortion or subversion of the process of free and fair election.

Where the total number of votes cast in a constituency or electoral division exceeds the number of electors on the official list for that constituency or electoral division.

Where ballot boxes have been stolen or destroyed or have in any manner been tampered with and the number of electors on the list of electors for the polling stations is more than the difference in the number of votes cast for the candidate declared the winner and the candidate who is not declared the winner.

Where votes have been polled by persons who are not bona fide electors thereby casting doubt on the integrity of the votes counted for the candidate declared elected.