Liberia: EU Money Meant for Achieving Success, Not to Be Wasted

-Ambassador Delahousse

The head of the European Union delegation accredited to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse says money coming from the EU is meant for achieving success, it is not to be wasted. European finances giving to Liberia and any other countries are coming from the pocket of European Union taxpayers, and it's meant for achieving success and not to be wasted. We account for any cent that are giving to countries, and at such, the European finances must make an impact of success, says Ambassador Delahousse.

He spoke at EU Follow up Mission news conference held over the weekend when he responded to question whether the EU will slow down its support to Liberia, if national government fails to adhere to the EU's 23-count recommendation especially, six priority areas.

Addressing journalists, the former chief observer for EU 2017 election, and now member of the EU parliament Ms. Maria Arena said, the objective of the EU mission is to assess the degree to which recommendations for improving the Liberian election framework from 2017 have been implemented, as well as to discuss ways to achieving further progress on electoral reform.

"Those recommendations were based on impartial assessment of all aspects of the Electoral process guided by regional and international standards for election".

According to her, amongst the priority recommendations, the EU election observers recommended affirmative action for women's participation in election, including implementation of capacity building for prospective female candidates and measures for better integration of women in political parties throughout the electoral cycle.

"I remain hopeful that the Liberian authorities will engage with stakeholders on improving the electoral framework before 2023 and among others, introduce measures to increase participation of female candidates to election and support the 30% female mandatory quota for political party candidates, as proposed by the national elections commission", Ms. Arena added.

According to her, the EU electoral recommendations are a sign of EU's willingness to support democratic elections in Liberia via the movement of the electoral framework, adding that they should be seeing as an indication for possible electoral reform prior to the next general elections.

She said even though there are 23 recommendations, put forth by the EU, but there are six priority ones which authorities must prioritize and they include: (A) the Legislature could initiate a constitutional referendum process for the successful removal of the ethic definition of Liberian citizenship.

(B) The Legislature might consider undertaking a review of Article 83 of the Constitution in light of the Supreme Court's ruling of November 6, 2017.

(C) Consider progressing towards a passive voter registration system based on a reliable civil register thus, enhancing participation in election and addressing uncertainties inherent to active voter registration.

(D) That the opportunity to vote for all qualified citizens, including, persons turning eighteen between registration and election day, as well as detainees and the hospitalized should be granted.

(E) Modifying legislation consider enacting the affirmative action bill and the national elections commission candidate nomination regulation for enforcement of affirmative action for women's participation and ensure greater representation in decision making roles within the election administration.

Lastly, (F) Consider the extension of domestic observation groups to the whole electoral cycle to reinforce the role and participation of civil society in monitoring and reform of the electoral process, she explained.

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