The National Elections Commission or NEC Information section on Thursday June 30, 2016 ended its regional session on the Reformed Elections Laws at the Gbarnga Women Center in Bong County.
The regional section targeted NEC Magistrates, Political Parties Local Representatives, Local Media Representatives, and Civil Society Organisations’ local Representatives across three counties; Lofa, Nimba and Bong respectively.
Speaking to delegates at the regional section on the Reformed Elections Laws Attorney Nathan Garbie NEC Deputy Program Director maintained that credible elections around the World are being conducted by electoral guidelines and laws; adding that as Liberia General Elections draws near it is the responsibility of NEC to create awareness on the reformed elections laws of the country.
Mr. Garbie indicated that the regional consultation processes on the already amended elections laws will inform and educate political actors and citizens in the country about how and when they should conduct their political processes in accordance with the elections laws.
The NEC Deputy Program Director stressed that elections laws are key to the country progress, growth, electoral process and needed citizens’ keen attention which the regional section was not an excerption. He further encouraged delegates of the Gbarnga’s regional section on the Reformed Elections Law to furthermore create awareness in educating citizens on the 2014 Elections Law Amendments in their various constituencies in the country.
Some of the Elections Law Amended are: Chapter 2 section 2.9 (f) (Old one) which states; To revoke the registration and accreditation of an already legal party only upon the judicial determination of a court of competent jurisdiction, in accordance with the due process.
AMENDED IN 2014 Chapter 2 section 2.9 (f) (New) To suspend the registration and accreditation of a registered political party in accordance with Chapter 5. Chapter 2 section 2.9 (v) (Old one) upon the nomination of the president, and with the consent of the Senate, the commission shall commission upon directives of the president, all such officials and employees as may be necessary for the effective performance of the duties and functions of the commission.
AMENDED IN 2014 Chapter 2 section 2.9 (V) (New) The commission shall employ the officers and staff necessary for the performance of its duties through an open and transparent selection process. Other new Elections Law Amendments and added include: Chapter 3A Section. 3A 1: Qualification of Candidates States:
• A person qualified to be registered to vote may be a candidate in an election for all elected of-fices if he /she is: Domiciled in the constituency for which he or she will be a candidate for at least one year, that is to say twelve (12)months prior to the Election Day, and is a regular taxpayer. (AMENDED IN 2014) Chapter 4 Section. 4.7 A: Period of Permissible Withdrawal —Was Added
• (1) A candidate may withdraw from contesting an election by giving a written notice to the commission no later than seven (7) days after the last day for receiving nominations under sec-tion 4.5, and a withdrawal notice after this date is void.
• (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the second round of a Presidential Elections.(Amended in 2014) among others.
According to Att. Garbie those Elections New and Old Law Amendments were passed by the National Legislature after series of citizens’ engagements across the country and being approved by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 2014 and printed into hand bill.
The Gbarnga regional section was the 3rd in a series of the sessions organised by the Information Session of NEC with support from UNDP, European Union, IFES, USAID etc. Addressing a cross-section of reporters including the New Dawn Nimba Correspondent at the end of the consultation, Nimba Traditional Chief Peter Boulon expressed appreciation for the efforts being made by NEC in organising the regional awareness sessions on the Reformed Elections Law and further urged the electoral body to continue.