28 November 2012

Liberia: Indeed, the Electoral Law Must Be Reformed


IN RECENT TIMES, the National Elections Commission (NEC) embarked on series of activities intended to reform the electoral laws of Liberia so as to reflect present day realities. The need to reform the electoral laws of Liberia in order to reflect current reality is indeed necessary.

IN BUTTRESSING THE efforts of the NEC, the former South African Independent Electoral Commission Chairman, Johann Kriegler at the opening of a two-day international conference on the reform of the electoral law of Liberia reminded the National Elections Commission (NEC) that the reform of the law is necessary so as to address the uncertainty, the flaws and the complexities that exist in the present electoral law of the country.

MR. KRIEGLER THEN called on the NEC to seek out the uncertainties in the electoral framework and introduce new laws to help the country move forward and also said that any reform in the Liberian Electoral Laws must be done with the involvement of every citizen and not only the elites.

MR. KRIEGLER WHO served as keynote speaker said if there should be any reform of the electoral laws of Liberia, it must be done in the way that it will suit the needs of the Liberian people and not just the few privileged. He stated further that the reform must not be for the elites but the entire society.

MR. KRIEGLER SAID the society must be involved in the decision-making process and in so doing the law will reflect the views of everyone and impact the lives of all the citizens. He stated further that there is indeed room and need for the revision of the Liberian electoral law and that the fate of all the Liberian people must not be placed in the hands of the elites.

INDEED, THE IDEA of reforming the Liberian Electoral laws must be thoroughly reviewed so as to meet present day realities and international best practices. We concur with the Chairman of the NEC that the reform of the electoral laws has absolutely become necessary given that some of the existing laws that apply to elections are ambiguous while others were specifically enacted for the 2005 elections, and such are not applicable in the present electoral system.

WE ALSO HAIL the NEC for embarking upon appropriate measures that will improve and enhance the overall electoral system of Liberia because the NEC is the referee in the political game and any outcome from elections in the country, be it good or bad; the Commission will be held responsible.

WHILE WE COMMEND the NEC for the numbers of activities being undertaken intended to reform the electoral laws of Liberia, we also want to join Mr. Kriegler in warning that the law must not just be made to favor the elites but all Liberians irrespective of their tribes, political affiliation or religious group.

WE ARE THEREFORE calling on NEC to continue the nation-wide consultation to get the views of everyone and make their respective inputs in the decision-making process so that any reform made will reflect the views of everyone as a means of sustaining the democratic process in the country.

LET US AS Liberians review our electoral law and point out those flaws, the complexities and those issues of principles that Mr. Kriegler talked about yesterday. We believe that in reforming the electoral laws, the democratic process of our country will be enhanced and that we will make progress in sustaining out peace and stability.

AGAIN, WE FULLY support and agree with the reform of the electoral law so as to reflect current realities and to purge out those flaws, inconsistencies and complexities that are in our present law, and let the reform favor not only the elites or the few privileged as Mr. Kriegler warned, but all Liberians.

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