Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo is confident that Parliament will deliberate on and eventually pass the Political Parties Integrity Bill, PPIB, which is now before the Parliamentary Bills and Legislation Committee.
Parliament has indicated that the Bills and Legislation Committee will probably invite submissions from the public, which means hearings are likely to be held anytime in the week.
The Bill was approved by Cabinet more than three weeks ago and was submitted to the Clerk to Parliament shortly after its approval.
Director of the Governance Program in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Calvin Ziru today explained that the Bill is the same Bill that was withdrawn by Parliament in 2010 but the current version includes relevant amendments which substantively alter and clarify aspects of the Bill which were previously deemed contentious.
He says substantive amendments include the establishment of the Political Parties Commission, which would be the statutory body responsible for administering the proposed Act.
Previously, it was suggested that the Electoral Commission administer the Act, and this required amendments to the Constitution which was proved difficult to secure support towards the original intention.
Meanwhile, the current Bill has revisited and reduced the requirements for the requisite number of members needed to register a political party and requirements relating to political party structures.
It has also streamlined the processes relating to the registration, de-registration, amalgamation and coalition of political parties.
The previous version of the Bill does not provide for anti-defection and similarly, the version recently tabled, still does not specifically provide for anti-defection.
Governance Program Director in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Calvin Ziru says, as the leading Ministry in initiating the Bill, the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is confident in its current version and believes that Members of Parliament will appreciate the rationale, logic and the importance of the Bill.
He adds, the bill will be brought to the Bills and Legislation Committee and expected to be critically examined, but that’s important if the country values the significance of this piece of legislation.