Liberia conducts regional consultations on legal reforms

The elections project, managed by UNDP and funded by donor partners including the European Union, Irish Aid, Canada and the Government of Sweden through its embassy near Monrovia, supported the National Elections Commission to embark on nationwide consultations to reform provisions of the elections law of Liberia.

The objective of the electoral reform is to ultimately improve the administration of elections in Liberia by considering key recommendations from citizens and the 2017 elections observers’ recommendations which amongst other things, call for a reform of some provisions of the current elections law.

On 23-24 July 2019, the first in a series of regional consultations took place in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, which brought together over one hundred participants from Gbarpolu, Cape Mount, Bomi and Montserrado Counties. This was followed by further consultations in Buchanan, Zwedru and Gbarnga.

Regional consultations in Liberia

These consultations, facilitated by the National Elections Commission (NEC), brought various stakeholders together to discuss the current legal framework and identify entry points for reformed and improved electoral laws, that will strengthen elections administration.

A total of approximately six hundred-fifty (650) participants drawn from a broad spectrum of stakeholders are expected to be reached at the end of these consultations. These include representatives from local government authorities, traditional leaders, youth and women organisations, professional organisations, local business women, people with disability or physically challenged individuals, religious institutions, etc.

The consultations have also been graced by the presence of some key state actors including members of the NEC Board of Commissioners, representatives for the Law Reform Commission and the Justice Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, traditional chiefs and elders and the National Legislature of Liberia.

Some of the key emerging crosscutting issues coming from the consultations include: the proposal to reduce the tenure of Presidential term from six to four years, the proposal for public officials to resign at least two years before the campaign period, the proposal to change the election date from the second Tuesday of October to the second week of November in the election year, the mandatory representation of women in every electoral district and political party, among others.

The final consultations targeting political parties and civil society organisations are expected to convene in the coming month, which will be followed by an international validation workshop, at the end of which a draft legal proposal for amendment will be submitted to the Legislature for consideration.

Support to the 2015-2018 Liberian Electoral Cycle project was established in order to strengthen the capacity of the National Election Commission (NEC) to successfully carry out electoral process within the 2015-2018 electoral cycle. Among other objectives, it introduced modern administrative systems and procedures, enhanced communications and public outreach, supported voter registration and election results management process. In addition, the project seeks to enhance the participation of women in the elections and in political activities, support civic and voter education and strengthen NEC’s capacity to engage with the stakeholders and resolve electoral disputes. The project is supported by the European Union (10.85 million USD), Sweden (2,757,039 USD), UNDP (1 million USD), Canada (749,625 USD) and Ireland (568,828 USD).


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