The New Dawn (Monrovia)

26 May 2014

Liberia: De-Certificated Parties Challenge NEC

Twenty political parties de-certificated by the National Elections Commission or NEC have threatened to disrupt the October Special Senatorial Election and challenged the action by the commission.

A spokesperson for the aggrieve parties, Rev. Victor S.N. Saylee, National Chairman of the Original Congress Party of Liberia, their de-certification by the NEC is totally against the Constitution of Liberia, vowing that they will fight the decision to its end. Rev. Saylee spoke at the head offices of the Constitutional Review Committee or CRC on the Old Road during a meeting with the CRC over the weekend.

According to him, there is no provision in the Constitution that gives the National Elections Commission authority to de-certificate a political party if its account is below US$10,000, vowing that the aggrieved parties vehemently opposed the decision.

But the National Chairman of the Alternative National Congress, Mr. Lafayette E.O. Gould, apologized on behalf of the affected political parties for the statement by Rev. Saylee, which he described as "slip of tongue." The ANC chair said the affected parties are law-abiding and have no plan to disrupt the pending senatorial election.

Recently, the National Elections Commission (NEC) filed a petition before the Civil Law Court for the Revocation of the Registration and Accreditation of 20 Registered Political parties in Liberia.

According to the NEC, the parties include the National Vision Party of Liberia, National Democratic Coalition, the National Union for Democratic Progress, Citizens Unification Party, Freedom Alliance party, Original Congress Party, Liberia Empowerment Party, Progressive Democratic Party, Liberia Destiny Party, Liberia National Union, Liberia Transformation Party, National Reformation Party, National Democratic Party of Liberia, Liberia Reconstruction Party, National Social Democratic Party of Liberia, Republican Party, Liberia Equal Rights Party, Majority Party of Liberia, Progressive People's Party and Alliance for Peace and Democracy.

The NEC's petition said the political parties violated Articles 83(d) and 79 (c)(i) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia as well as Part II Chapter IV of the Guidelines Relating to the Registration of Political Parties and Independent Candidates.

Article 83(d) of the Constitution of Liberia requires that every political party in Liberia shall on September 1, of each year, publish and submit to the NEC detailed statements of assets and liabilities. These shall include the enumeration of sources of funds and other assets, plus list of expenditure while Article 79(c)(i) in relevant part, mandates that no association shall function as a political party, unless the headquarters of the association is located in the Republic's Capital.

Part II, Chapter IV of the Guidelines Relating to the Registration o0f Political Parties and Independent Candidates further mandates that "each political party shall maintain an updated bank account with a balance not less than 10,000 United States Dollars or its equivalence in Liberian Dollars.

The Liberia Reconstruction Party, National Social Democratic Party of Liberia, Republican Party, Liberia Equal Rights Party, Majority Party of Liberia and the Progressive People's Party failed to comply with the Constitutional Requirement of Article 83(d) as well as the regulatory requirement of Part II Chapter IV of the Guidelines Relating to the Registration of Political parties and Independent Candidates.

The National Democratic Coalition, National Democratic Party of Liberia, and Alliance for Peace and Democracy did not only neglect the above constitutional and regulatory requirement to publish and submit detailed statement of their assets and liabilities on September 1, they also failed to make such submission during a grace period provided by the Commission.

The National Vision Party of Liberia, National Union for Democratic Progress, Citizens Unification Party, Freedom Alliance Party, Original Congress Party, Liberia Empowerment Party, Progressive Democratic Party, Liberia Destiny Party, Liberia National Union, Liberia Transformation Party and the National Reformation Party in addition to failing to meet the above mentioned mandatory constitutional and regulatory requirement, knowingly submitted misleading and false assets and liability statements to the NEC.

In the petition filed before assigned Circuit Judge, Peter Gbeneweleh last week Monday in Monrovia, the NEC asked the Civil Law Court to revoke, nullify and set aside the respective registrations and accreditation of the 20 political parties and declare them no longer in existence.

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