13 December 2012

Liberia: Consultations On Electoral Reform Law Continue

Consultations on the Electoral Reform Law of Liberia continue in the country with Liberia's Electoral body, the National Elections Commission (NEC) involving the religious community. On Wednesday, NEC held a one-day consultative conference with Liberian religious leaders including the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, the Liberia Council of Churches, the Muslim Council of Liberia, and other religious groupings in the country.

At the consultative meeting yesterday, NEC's Acting Chairman Elizabeth Nelson informed the religious leaders that following the 2011 elections; the NEC hosted a three-day comprehensive lessons learnt conference with the view of taking stock of the 2011 electoral process.

Cllr. Nelson said the conference provided a platform for stakeholders to assess all of the processes leading to the conduct of the 2011 elections and make recommendations where necessary for the enhancement of future elections in the country.

Madam Nelson furthered that among recommendations made at the conference were the need to develop a strategic plan that will serve as a guide for the next six year electoral period and a complete reform of the electoral laws of Liberia in order to reflect current realities.

The plan according to Cllr. Nelson include building trust and confidence in electoral processes; reforming the electoral laws to reflect current realities; mainstreaming and enhancing women participation in electoral processes; institutional capacity building with emphases on human resource development; effective and efficient delivery of the special senatorial and local elections, referendum and the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.

Some of the religious leaders who spoke at the conference yesterday called on NEC to make it mandatory for all citizens of Liberia to have their national identification cards. They also spoke against the run-off election saying that it is very costly and tedious and therefore, the 50 plus one vote must be abolished.

According to Rev. David Marshall of LCC, the majority rules must be following by declaring one who obtains the highest number in an election the winner instead of going for run-off which according to him is very costly.

Recently, former South African Independent Electoral Commission Chairman, Johann Kriegler with other international guests was part of the Liberia Electoral Reform laws consultative conference held in Monrovia. During the conference, Mr. Kriegler informed NEC that any reform in the Liberian Electoral Laws must be done with the involvement of every Liberian citizen and not only the elites.

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