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AG responds to Petition Dismissal

June 8, 2015 7:28 pm

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the ruling of the Court of Disputed Returns yesterday which dismissed his petition against the Electoral Commission opens the door for mixing politics and public offices – two realms which must always remain separate.

He adds that by law, a candidate for Parliament must step down from any public office he or she holds in order to avoid conflict of interest.

The need to avoid this conflict of interest and the demarcation between politics and public office is especially important in our electoral system given that we no longer have by-elections in the event of a vacancy.

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The AG says “This case sets an unfortunate precedent.

For example, the political party with majority seats in Parliament and forming Government could simply now put all their unsuccessful candidates in public offices, and then also have the benefit of having the same candidates declared as Members of Parliament if there is a vacancy in Parliament."

The AG stated that the ruling does indeed have the potential of compromising the political neutrality of public offices, and given that the ruling of the High Court is final, it may be appropriate for the relevant laws to be clarified through appropriate legislative amendment.

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