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McCartney welcomes plan for 38 seats

Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Branville McCartney said yesterday that the elimination of three seats in the House of Assembly after the next general election would be favorable for his party.

The Boundaries Commission proposal calls for a reduction in the number of seats from 41 to 38.

“It is not an inconvenience,” said McCartney during a press conference held at the DNA headquarters on Prince Charles Drive.

“As a matter of fact, I [would] prefer [fewer] seats for this country.  It is said that it is 38 seats now and we are prepared for whatever the commission comes out and says.”

The Boundaries Commission is constitutionally mandated to ensure, as much as possible, that the number of voters in every constituency is the same.  The constitution requires the commission to review the boundaries in five-year intervals.

The last constituencies commission made its report to the governor general in late March 2007.

McCartney advised that once the final report is submitted by the Boundaries Commission, his party  will determine which candidates would be best to run in the particular areas.

“We will run a candidate in every constituency regardless,” he said.  “Because it has been reduced, we actually have an excess of candidates.”

He also pointed out that the reduction in seats had been anticipated, especially after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reminded in the House of Assembly that the constitution provided for a minimum of 38 seats.

“We anticipated that, from even before that was said in the House of Assembly,” McCartney said.

“We are not really concerned.  Our concern is to get people to register to vote and that people will hear our message.

“Our concern after the election is that no matter who is successful, we can all come together and make this country a better place.”

The Constitution of The Bahamas provides for five members of the commission: the Speaker of the House (chairman), a Supreme Court judge (deputy chairman), two members from the governing party and one member from the Official Opposition.

“I think the division in terms of who is a part of the Commission is fair,” he said.  “At this stage, the fact that there is only one DNA member in the House of Assembly…really doesn’t matter.

“At the end of the day, boundaries [don’t] vote…people vote and that’s the important thing, the people.”

The Nassau Guardian understands that the Commission will meet again tomorrow.

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