Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Assistant Professor of Law
School of Law, SMU
TWO DAYS AGO [August 11, 2011], the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) issued certificates of eligibility to four of the six prospective candidates who applied to contest the presidential election. We are thus assured of a poll for the first time in 18 years, and with the largest number of candidates to date.
The PEC’s announcement of its decisions makes interesting reading for what it does and does not say. It allows observers to examine how the Committee goes about fulfilling its crucial duty.
The Committee consists of the Chairmen of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), and a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights (PCMR) nominated by the Council’s Chairman. The Government’s power over the PEC’s composition is regulated to an extent, as the outgoing President had personal discretion to veto appointments of unsuitable persons as PSC Chairman, and as the Chairman and members of the PCMR.
Nonetheless, how the PEC carries out its task can be improved. Continue reading