The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: NEC to Submit New Election Laws

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has outlined what it calls several achievements by the Commission in 2012 and revealed various activities it desires to undertake next Year. Addressing a news conference recently in Monrovia, NEC Acting Chairman; Elizabeth Nelson said in 2012 the Commission hosted a-comprehensive lesson learnt conference with the view of taking stock of electoral process.

Madam Nelson said the conference provided a platform upon which stakeholders assessed all of the Processes leading to the conduct of the 2011 elections and a number of recommendations evolved at the close of the conference, among which was the need to formulate a six-year strategic plan that would guide the operation of the NEC from 2012 to 2018 and the need to reform the electoral laws of the country.

According to Madam Nelson, the NEC was also involved in a string of election observation missions in the United States, Ghana and Sierra Leone. She said more than twenty staff of the institution including Elections Magistrates, Assistant Election Magistrates from the 19 Elections Magisterial areas of the country formed part of the missions that were sponsored by the Government of Liberia, IFES, UNDP/EU, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union.

Commenting on decentralization Policy of NEC, Cllr. Nelson said the Commissioners of NEC acknowledging the need to ensure that members of the public pay a key role and take ownership of the electoral process, during the year, formulated a decentralization policy which requires all activities related to the conduct of By Election beginning with the assurance of Writs of Elections to the certification of winning candidates be done in the district or county in which by elections are conducted.

She said the policy worked very well in the conduct of the two By-Elections held by the Commission in Electoral District 3, Sinoe County and Electoral District # 11, Montserrado County.

Outlining activities of the New Year, the NEC boss added that during the year 2013, the Commission desires to submit a draft of the proposed New Election Laws of Liberia to the National legislature for debate and subsequent passage into law.

"We also desire to continue the process of strengthening and enhancing the professional capacity of the administration of the NEC at all levels in the New Year through strategic institutional development programs," Cllr. Nelson noted.

She said NEC is under obligation to induct a special election for half of the Liberian Senate in line with Article 46 of the Liberian Constitution. "Towards end, the NEC will begin a vigorous planning process of the 2014 Special Election with the involvement of Civic/Voter Education programs using strategic approaches during the New Year. We also desire to continue the process continuously enhancing the capacity of political parties through specialized trainings and regular consultations. We will continue to engage civil society organizations and the Committees on Elections of both Houses of the National Legislature," she intimated.

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