By Clifford Ndujihe
President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the amended Electoral Bill today, Friday, February 25. Below are the 10 key provisions of the new Electoral Act:
1. Clause 29(1) stipulates that parties must conduct primaries and submit their list of candidates at least 180 days before the general elections.
2. Clause 65 states that INEC can review results declared under duress.
3. Clause 3(3) states that funds for general elections must be released at least one year before the election.
4. Clause 51 says that the total number of accredited voters will become a factor in determining over-voting at election tribunals.
5. Clause 54(2) makes provisions for people with disabilities and special needs.
6. Clause 47 gives legislative backing for smart card readers and any other voter accreditation technology that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deploys.
7. Clause 34 gives political parties power to conduct a primary election to replace a candidate who died during an election.
8. Clause 50 gives INEC the legal backing for electronic transmission of election results.
9. Clause 94 allows for early commencement of the campaign season. By this provision, the campaign season will now start 150 days to the election day and end 24 hours before the election.
10. Clause 84 stipulates that anyone holding a political office – ministers, commissioners, special advisers, and others – must relinquish the position before they can be eligible to participate in the electoral process either as a candidate or as a delegate.