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NEC Conducts National Gender Conference on Electoral Law Reform

The Gender Section of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has begun a day long review conference on Gender Mainstreaming in Elections through Legislative Enactment.

The conference started Thursday Morning at the Headquarters of the National Elections Commission in Monrovia.

The workshop is being attended by participants from women advocacy groups, political parties, UN agencies, legislators, the Ministry of Gender and Development, among others.

Issues being discussed at the workshop include Electoral Law Reform Consultation and Review Process and Introduction to the Gender Review Process, among others.

The conference is intended to solicit the input of women advocacy groups in the ongoing Electoral Law Reform Consultation process in the country.

Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission in collaboration with the UNDP and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has concluded the second phase of the Electoral Law Reform Consultation exercise in several counties.

The counties include Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Nimba, Maryland and Sinoe. The inputs of stakeholders in the reform process were solicited the consultations.

The first phase of the Nation-wide Electoral Law Reform Process was held in Bomi, Bong, Margibi, Grand Gedeh and Grand Bassa Counties.

The consultation meetings were attended by County Superintendents, city mayors, chiefs, women and youth groups, transport union representatives, marketers, among others.

At these nation-wide public consultative forums, the perspective of individual participants on the provisions that are being highlighted for reform were recorded for the purpose of discussion in future forums, in what is regarded as the initial step in the amendment process of the elections laws of the country.

Twenty-six issues are out for reform. They include the composition and decision making process of the National Elections Commission, campaign Finance, Candidate registration requirements, budgetary allotment for the National Elections Commission, Civil sanction,  Political Party Registration, voters Registration, lost or damaged voters Card Replacement and update, Electoral Dispute Resolution, Constitutional Reform and Referendum, among others.

These provisions, from the outlook of elections administrators, political parties, civil society organizations and other stakeholders, contain ambiguous elements that are not easily applicable to the process of conducting elections in today’s Liberia.

This process would be followed by a conference of practicing Liberian lawyers whose Inputs would also be sought.

An international conference of lawyers will also be hosted in Monrovia for the purpose of soliciting the views of international legal practitioners and elections experts from other electoral jurisdictions on how best the revised elections laws of Liberia can be synched up elections laws in other countries.

This meeting would be chaired by the Former Appeals Court Judge of South Africa Johann Kriegler, who served as the first Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa that managed the first non-racial election of that country in 1994.

The process is open to the public and inputs of individuals and institutions from every range of life are being sought on a daily basis.

The current process of revising or amending the electoral laws of Liberia is intended to afford electoral administrators in Liberia the opportunity to continuously sustain the use of internationally acclaimed benchmarks of electoral good practices that include integrity, impartiality, independence, transparency, efficiency service-mindedness and professionalism in the conduct of elections in the country.

Though the elections law of the Republic of Liberia were revised and amended in 1986 and 2003, it still contains weaknesses that need to be addressed for the purpose of clearness and applicability to current realities.



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