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BPM Appeals to Governor General for Redistricting

The Belize PEACE Movement (BPM) has urged Governor General Dame Froyla

Tzalam to refuse elections without redistricting. BPM contends the government must

comply with a High Court order to amend the Representation of the People Act.

The BPM called upon the Governor General to refuse if the Briceño administration

moves to hold elections without redistricting. The BPM notes that the Governor General

is empowered to do so under Section 84.4 of the Constitution, which reads:

"If the Prime Minister advises a dissolution and the Governor-General, acting in his own

deliberate judgment, considers that the Government of Belize can be carried on without

a dissolution and that a dissolution would not be in the interests of deliberate judgment,

[the Governor-General can] refuse to dissolve the National Assembly."

On Wednesday, the BPM applied to the court to have Schedule 1 of the ROPA declared

unconstitutional. The case is being heard by Justice Nadine Nabie. Attorney for the

BPM, Arthur Saldivar, explained that Schedule 1 defines the current composition of the

country’s 31 electoral divisions and would be used if elections are called. Saldivar says

that the court’s declaration would put the government in a position where redistricting

would be its only option.

In court, the government’s attorneys argued that the government’s actions are in the

best interest of the electorate, to ensure that each vote has equal weight. However,

Saldivar contends that the BPM’s case is built on the fact that the Constitution

mandates equal representation under the law and that such representation is not

possible under the current configuration of the electoral divisions.

After hearing submissions from both sides, Justice Nabie reserved judgment.

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