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From the Supervisor of Elections – Vol II No 14: Political Party?
Office of the AG
From the Supervisor of Elections
Vol II Issue No 14: Political Party?
On multiple occasions, I have been asked about the procedure for registering a political party. The Act which governs our operations, the National Assembly Election Act, does not provide much guidance. The Act makes the assumption that the parties already exist, and the electoral office merely has to prepare the electoral field in which they will operate.
The best answer I can give is this: after an election is called and candidates are nominated, in his/her own personal capacity, the Secretary of the party is required to submit a listing of the candidates who have agreed to contest the election together as a party, duly signed by all of them, and authored by the secretary of the party. If that party has never contested an election before, then it is assigned the first available one of the 16 symbols listed in the regulations. That’s how they become a “party”.
Just as there is no registration of a political party with the electoral office, so there is no de-registration. Thus the 14 parties which have ever contested an election in St. Kitts -Nevis are still on the books with their assigned symbol; and the symbol assigned to independent candidate(s) is his/hers for as long as he/she wants.
Unlike us, several jurisdictions actually require registration and regular renewal of the registration of political parties. Jamaica has the distinction of being the “gold” standard for electoral matters for the Caribbean. As part of that standard, they actually define, register, monitor and de-register political parties.
The Jamaica legislation defines a political party as an association, organization, affiliation or group of persons joined to form a political organization for the principal purposes of influencing public opinion; endorsing one or more of its members as candidates and supporting their election; and participating in the representation of the people by contesting elections, nominating or endorsing its members as candidates or carrying out other political activities on an ongoing basis. That is a good definition to keep in mind.
The Party must present information like the name, color, symbol and two copies of its constitution stating the name and address of the representative and the fee when registering
The Party must present two copies of its constitution which must state the name and address of the authorized representative and the prescribed fee. The application must indicate the name of the political party; the identifying symbol, slogan or logo used or proposed to be used, and the colour used or proposed to be used by the political party.
The Jamaica Electoral Commission may deregister a political party if it fails to comply with any provision or requirement of this Act, file any information reasonably required by the Commission to clarify or verify the information contained in a statement or return or any other information filed by the political party, fails to submit the annual financial reports; or fails to submit the financial records to the auditor pursuant to directions from the Commission. Where the Commission discovers any fact, which had it been known prior to the issuance of the certificate of registration, can withdraw the certification. A party may also initiate its own de-registration.
The Commission could deregister the political party if that political party has not nominated a candidate for three consecutive elections since the time of its first registration; or where the political party has made any changes or alterations to its identifying slogan, color or name, otherwise than in accordance with their Act.
A party could deregistered if they have not nominated a candidate for three consecutive elections since the time of its first registration or made physical changes to the party’s identity
; or where the political party has made any changes or alterations to its identifying slogan, color or name, otherwise than in accordance with their Act.
As Supervisor of Elections, I must ensure equal opportunity to all.