Bill to modernise elections in municipalities tabled
Elections to the Corporations of Hamilton and St George will be run in the same way as national elections if legislation tabled on Friday is passed.
Government moved to reform Corporation elections through the Municipalities Reform Act last year.
During that debate, politicians from all three parties agreed the Corporations were in desperate need of electoral reform.
The legislation they passed gave all city residents on the electoral register the right to vote, repealing the original 1923 act, which allowed one vote per residence but multiple votes to business owners with many properties in the city.
The legislation tabled on Friday, the Municipalities [Election] Order 2011, applies the Parliamentary Election Act to municipal elections.
Minister of Justice Michael Scott later told
The Royal Gazette it is the mechanism to bring into effect the democratization of the franchise achieved by the Municipalities Reform Act.
Previously, elections could be called on “such day as the Corporation may determine”.
Now, ordinary municipal elections would be held on “a day other than a Saturday, Sunday or other public holiday in the week following the first Sunday in May.”
An election cannot be held earlier than 28 days after the publication of a notice in the Official Gazette, nor more than two months after publication of the notice.
The wording of the Parliamentary Elections Act will also be amended to reflect the municipal elections coming under that umbrella.
The main act regulates areas such as publishing electoral registers, postponing elections, and nominating candidates.
Candidates would not be able to run in the Corporation elections for more than one vacancy, or if they are nominated as a candidate for the House of Assembly or Senate.