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FDC Wants Parliamentary Seats Reserved for Defeated Presidential Candidates

Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have proposed a constitutional amendment to make room for runners up in the presidential elections to directly join parliament.

These want all unsuccessful presidential contenders that secure at least 10% in the presidential elections, to automatically become ex-officio members of parliament.

According to Section 81 of the Rules of Procedure that govern Parliament, only the Vice President, the Prime Minister and ministers can be admitted in parliament without being elected.

The above however, under Article 78 (d) of the Constitution, are not allowed to vote on any matter before the House.

On Wednesday, officials from FDC presented a proposed amendment to this provision.

The team included Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ocan, party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat, and former Leader of Opposition Wafula Oguttu.

Addressing legislators on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Amuriat explained that this amendment is aimed at strengthening multi-party democracy and national cohesion.

The 10% threshold, Amuriat said is a hard target and would limit weaker candidates from joining parliament.

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“The 10% is not very easy to achieve in the presidential elections. Only Dr. Kizza Besigye other than Mr. Museveni have achieved this. We don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry; you know somebody getting 2% being admitted to this honourable house,” Amuriat elaborated.

Additionally, the FDC officials proposed for the title “Leader of Opposition” to be changed to ‘Leader of the Minority,’ something Wafula Oguttu said sounds politer.

Besides that, Oguttu says this would be handy in the event that an independent candidate is elected president of Uganda.

“Suppose Hon (Wilfred) Niwagaba stood as an independent and he became President of the Republic of Uganda, who would be Leader of Opposition when the president is an Independent?”

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