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Opposition Leader, Peace Movement denounce proposed electoral bill: A “violation of fundamental rights”

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2024. 7:10 am CST.

By Horace Palacio: The Public Service House Committee convened on Monday to discuss the controversial Representation of the People Bill of 2024, facing strong opposition from both civil society groups and political leaders.

The Belize Peace Movement (BPM) voiced grave concerns, asserting that the bill, if passed, would perpetuate extreme malapportionment within the electoral system. In a statement, the BPM argued this would “normalize undemocratic governance” and “violate the fundamental right to vote in free and fair elections.” They called for an urgent, special sitting of the House to expedite the bill’s review and ultimately reject it in the “best interest of our democracy.”

Adding to the chorus of dissent, Leader of the Opposition Shyne Barrow echoed the BPM’s sentiments in a formal letter of objection. He highlighted “glaring irregularities, gerrymandering, and Constitutional violations” within the bill, particularly criticizing the proposed deviation of 25% above or below the average constituency size. Barrow aligned with the BPM’s call for a swift rejection of the bill.

The proposed legislation has ignited a national debate on electoral reform, with critics arguing it would entrench existing inequities in representation. The government has yet to respond to the mounting pressure and concerns raised by both the BPM and Barrow.

As the situation unfolds, the fate of the Representation of the People Bill remains uncertain. The nation awaits the House’s next move in this critical juncture for Belize’s democratic future.

 

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