20 December 2016

Liberia: 350 Voter Registration Kits Arrive

1,000 others expected early next year

As voter registration for the upcoming presidential and representative elections begins early next year, the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced the arrival of 350 Voter Registration Kits (VRKs) into the country today.

The VRKs, according to a release issued by the NEC, contain solar panels, cameras, and accessories.

"These items were brought in from Europe through the auspices of the European Union (EU)," the release said.

With the arrival of the kits, the NEC is at the verge of swinging into full gear to commence the electoral exercises.

According to the NEC electoral timetable, the Civil Voter Education (CVE) will be officially launched on January 4, while the voter registration exercise begins on February 1 and runs until March 24.

The voter registration consignment is part of the larger batch of 1,350 kits the EU has procured through funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The remaining consignment of 1,000 voter registration kits is expected early next year.

The NEC said a portion of the kits that will arrive today will be used for the training of the estimated 8,320 registration staff that will commence the process early January.

Next year's elections have been termed by many as a very crucial exercise for the country as it will see for the first time a democratically elected government where the sitting president will be turning over the gavel of authority to another democratically elected government.

The last time this happened was in 1944, when then outgoing President Edwin J. Barclay relinquished power to incoming President William V. S. Tubman.

Many of the country's development partners, such as the US, Sweden, UNDP, EU Norway and others, have, however, committed themselves to the 2017 elections to ensure that the country undergoes a smooth transition, stated the press release.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has also come to the aid of the NEC's logistical needs with a promise to provide 20 vehicles for the upcoming electoral process.

In yesterday's statement, the NEC also expressed gratitude to USAID for what it described as, "timely intervention in the logistical needs of the entity."

"We want to be grateful that USAID has promised to provide the NEC with 20 vehicles to assist with the pending VR exercise," the release said.

Meanwhile, the Government of Sweden and UNDP on Wednesday, December 14, signed an agreement to support the work of the NEC during the 2015-2018 electoral cycle (Election Project).

The Swedish Government has also announced its commitment to contribute US$2.7 million to the National Elections Commission (NEC) through the UNDP.

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