24 December 2012

Liberia: Election Commission to Revoke Parties' Certificates

The National Elections Commission says it is taking seriously its minimum requirements for political parties, failure to which the NEC said will lead to the decertification of parties, ahead of the 2014 special elections.

In 2011, NEC de-certificated at least 10 political parties for failing to meet its minimum requirements - those whose certificates were revoke either did not have an account or a headquarters.

The acting head of the National Elections Commission Mrs. Elisabeth Nelson told senior journalists here Friday that as a minimum requirement, each political party is expected to have at least US$10, 000 in its account at the close of banking day, while each party is expected to have a national headquarter and regional headquarters.

"Each political party should have at least US10,000, at the close of each banking day," Mrs. Nelson said when she provided an update of the NEC's activities during the 2012 calendar year.

"Headquarters is another issue the NEC will tackle after the break. Lease agreements are now being looked at to satisfy parties headquarters," Mrs. Nelson said.

She said the commission will submit a draft of the proposed new election law to the Legislature for debate and subsequent passage into law in 2013.

The NEC acting boss said with the mandate given the NEC to conduct special elections, it will begin a vigorous planning process ahead of the 2014 special elections with the improvement of civic/voter education programs, using strategic approaches during the new year.

She said the commission is also expected to hold chieftaincy elections, but was not clear on the timetable for such election, which is required under the Liberian constitution.

Meanwhile, giving an update of its activities in 2012, Mrs. Nelson said the Commission hosted a three-day lesson learnt conference following the 2011 general elections.

She said the conference provided the platform upon which stakeholders assessed all of the processes leading to the conduct of the 2011 elections, and a number of recommendations were made at the end.

She also stated that during the year under review, NEC officials underwent series of training and partook in election observations in Ghana, the US and Sierra Leone, respectively.

She also spoke of the NEC decentralization program, which she said has worked well in the conduct of two by-elections.

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