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Nine opposition parties win appeal case

The Supreme Court on Monday September 6 handed down its judgement in the appeal case brought by nine opposition parties against a High Court judgement that had dismissed their objections to the 2009 election results on technical grounds.

Chief Justice Peter Shivute in a judgement that took two hours to read said that the Rally for Democracy and Progress's and eight other parties' electoral application, submitted to Registrar of the Courts on January 4 2010, could not be rejected on the grounds that it was delivered outside the Registrar's office hours. Chief Justice Shivute, in a judgement compiled together with four other appeal judges, placed emphasis on the importance of election-related court applications in a constitutional democracy and supported the opposition parties' claim that exceptional circumstances could be applied in this case and that the late submission of the application could allowed at the discretion of the Registrar. 

The judgement means that the case will now head back to the High Court for the arguments and merits of the substantive case, claiming serious and widespread irregularities in the 2009 elections, to be heard and considered. It is likely to be heard by the two original High Court Judges - Judge President Petrus Damaseb and Judge Collins Parker - who initially rejected the opposition case on technical grounds.

It is unclear when the case will be heard in the High Court as the court roll for the rest of 2010 is already packed. It is likely that case still has a long way to go - with a final resolution possibly being delayed to late 2011 or even 2012.

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