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IEC conducts exercise to screen parties

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it will continue monitoring all the political parties to ensure that they remain functional in compliance with the legal requirements, failing which they will be deregistered.

This was said by IEC Commissioner, Letholetseng Ntsiki, at a recent press conference in Maseru.

Two weeks ago, the IEC told the Sunday Express that it had de-registered four parties which no longer met its requirements for various reasons including the failure to hold annual conferences.

“We have no choice but to strike these parties off the register as they are not fully cooperative as per the requirements of a fully-fledged political party,” IEC Operations officer, Kotsoane Motsie, said at the time, adding that eight more parties face the chop for similar shortcomings.

He said some of the parties did not have offices, others did not participate in the 3 June 2017 snap elections and others did not hold their annual conferences as required.

The other eight that could fall by the wayside include Lekhotla la Mekhoa le Meetlo (LMM), Basutoland African National Congress (BANC), All Democratic Corporation (ADC), African Unity Movement (AUM), Progressive Democrats (PD).

However, Dr Ntsiki subsequently said they had not yet de-registered and parties but they were monitoring them with a view to taking action against those that were found to have fallen foul of IEC requirements.

She said it was up to the IEC to decide on measures to be taken against errant political parties, including de-registration.

“The Commission has to give notice to the political parties on the grounds of the proposed cancellation and even give a hearing to the concerned parties if their submissions are not satisfactory,” Dr Ntsiki said, adding, “All the 33 political parties shall be put under scrutiny and be dealt with according to our findings”.

She said even if a party was deregistered, it remained a political party although it could not contest any elections as this could only be done by parties that were registered with the IEC.

“A party may be de-registered if it is no longer functional or if it has been dissolved. It may also be de-registered if it no longer meets the registration requirements or does not fulfil its obligations under the electoral act,” Dr Ntsiki said.

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