United Party issues seven day ultimatum to the Government


United Party President, Peter Kenilorea Junior    Photo: SBM Online

The caretaker Government has been given a seven days ultimatum to appoint members of the Political Parties Integrity Commission.

According to a statement from the United Party, the caretaker government has until this Thursday to make the appointments or answerable to a court of law.

The Party has been pushing to register to contest next year’s National General Elections since the beginning of this year but whilst it complies with the requirements of the PPI Act, the Government has been slow in appointing the Commissioners of the PPI Commission who should approve UP’s membership to be registered as a political party.

In a letter to the caretaker Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela, UP lawyer Andrew Radcliffe said all remaining steps that needs to be taken to ensure his client and other interested political parties can be registered must be carried out as a matter of urgency.

He said UP has already taken steps to comply with the registration process but registration cannot take place until members of the Commission have been sworn in and their appointments gazetted.

Mr Radcliffe said any steps should also be taken immediately to ensure that the Registrar is available to perform his role under the Act.

He said UP intends to field candidates at the General Election to be held in early 2019 and the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014 states that a party has to be registered under the Act before it can put up candidates for the election.

Meanwhile, Mr Radcliffe said he was instructed that there are a number of obstacles to registration that are outside UP’s control.

He said one of those obstacles, the mistake in the Electoral Act 2018, has been corrected by Parliament.

Mr Radcliffe adds, members of the Commission established by the PPI Act were appointed on 30 November 2018 but have not yet been sworn in saying his client has ascertained that two of the appointees were unaware of their appointments.

He said as it is the Commission that registers political parties there must be a Commission in place that is capable of performing its statutory role.

Radcliffe further argues that Section 13 of the Constitution says it is a fundamental right that people have the right to form or belong to political parties.

He said failure by the authorities to fully comply with the PPI Act is an infringement of UP’s constitutional rights as although they are free to form a party, the UP members cannot stand for election as party representatives unless UP is registered as a political party.

Radcliffe said the formation of responsible political parties is in the national interest.

He further stated that a law has been passed to require registration of political parties and that law is meaningless unless the process to enable registration is complied with.


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