The Inquirer (Monrovia)

28 November 2012

Liberia: Political Parties Boycott Electoral Reform Confab

As the National Elections Commission (NEC) in collaboration with the UNDP and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) ends two-day International Conference on Electoral Law Reform in Liberia, political parties in the country have boycotted the conference.

An estimated 19 political parties and coalitions are in Liberia with 13 of them contesting the 2011 Presidential and Legislative Elections. None of the political parties were in attendance during the start of the two-day international conference.

The NEC has described the absence of the political parties from the conference as unfortunate. However, NEC calls on them to at least take a time off to attend the closing of the electoral reform conference which the Commission said is in the best interest of the country.

NEC began a two-day international conference on Electoral Reform at a local hotel in Monrovia. The conference ended yesterday. It was held under the Theme: "Electoral Law Reform: A Key to improving the Democratic Process in Liberia."

The Former Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa and an acclaimed South African Lawyer, Johann Kriegler chaired the conference. Other international lawyers invited by IFES and UNDP made presentations during the conference. The conference was intended to ensure that the reform process of the Electoral Laws of Liberia is conducted coherently with international best practices.

In remarks, National Elections Chairman, Elizabeth disclosed that following the lesson learnt from the conference in Liberia, some of the recommendations at the conference include the need to reform the electoral laws of Liberia in order to reflect current reality. She said the current demanding need of the electoral system of Liberia is a reform of the elections law.

According to the NEC Acting Chair, it has become necessary that some of the existing laws that apply to elections were ambiguous while others were specifically enacted for the 2005 elections, and as such are not applicable in the present electoral system.

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