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Party registration extended

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 3 – Kenyan electoral panel has offered a new lifeline to 130 political parties that failed to beat the year-end registration deadline in accordance to the a new law regulating their operations and urged them to expedite the exercise.

The Office Registrar of Political Parties,  a unit in the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), said that parties that were initially registered under the Societies Act must now seek provisional registration under the Political Parties Act that entered into force in July last year.

Only 38 parties had met the December 31 deadline.

After receiving the provisional certificate, the parties will have three extra months to pursue full registration to ease their operations. This certificate will only be valid for six months.

In a press statement, the registrar’s office said only 38 of the original parties that were previously recognised by the Societies Act are now fully registered in accordance to section 23 of the new law.

Any party that had submitted its “formal application to the registrar on or before 31st December 2008 and that application has not been denied remains lawful until such application has been approved or denied,” it said.

According to the law, provisionally-registered parties will not enjoy full rights such as campaigning for an election, contesting for once and candidates for polls, but can publicise themselves. In addition, they cannot get public funding that the cornerstone of the new law.

The law requires parties to open countrywide offices, secure at least 200 members in each of the country’s eight provinces and raise Sh600,000 required for registration during the six-month period when they are allowed to pursue full registration.
The law states that fully-registered parties will share 15 percent of public funding. Eighty percent will be shared proportionally in accordance to the number of votes attained in previous presidential, parliamentary and civic elections while five percent will be used to cover the fund’s administration expenses.

However, where more than one political party supports a presidential candidate, only the votes cast for the parliamentary and civic candidates shall determine the amount to be received.

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A registered political party may also miss out on public funding if its national office bearers do not reflect at least a third of either gender.

Meanwhile, party officials said parties are currently lobbying for their members to be appointed into the IIEC, which has been created to replace the disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya whose reputation has been sullied by the flawed November 27 polls.

Party officials said despite membership to the commission being open to the public, parties hoped to get their men in the fact that the applications were open to the general public, the parties hoped to have a say in it.


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