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Editorial

Party Reduction Necessary for Informed Decision-Making by Voters

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No doubt, the uncontrollable proliferation of political parties in Liberia, especially ahead of the 2017 Presidential and Representative Elections, may confuse a lot of voters, with regard to
decision-making.

Currently, it is belief that individuals found in a political party are almost the same persons seen in other political parties at different functions. Moreover, most of these parties may have no political weight and impact on attracting support and votes; yet still, they are referred to as political parties, even though some may just be opting for a piece of the political cake, through run-off support.
Perhaps it may be in view of the foregoing that a debate has now ensued in the Liberian Senate over the reduction of the number of political parties in Liberia.

The debate is against the backdrop of a communication to the Senate’s Plenary by three senators – President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah of Gbarpolu County and the National Patriotic Party or NPP, Senator Nyounblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County and the Liberty Party and Dallas Gueh of River-Cess County.

Amid huge attention and participation in Plenary, some senators wholeheartedly support the idea of reducing the number of political parties to four through legislation, while others are of the belief that giving credence to such idea would be in gross violation of the Constitution of Liberia and the rights of Liberians, as well as create more problems rather than uniting Liberians.

“This communication is more chaotic than finding the solution the crafters of this combination feel they are about to find.
Let this communication be placed in file 13 (meaning out of sight) and never to surface on this floor,” argued one of the opposing Senators last week in Plenary.
With a population of little over four-million people, just little over half of whom may be potential voters, having pretty close to twenty-five political parties may also create a state of confusion in participating in the political process and making decisions as who to vote in during next year’s elections.

While we share the concerns of those opposing the reduction of the number of parties because such decision by the Senate would be in ‘violation of the Constitution of Liberia and the rights of Liberia’, the same Constitution of Liberia gave birth to the National Elections Commission with the power to regulate political parties through standards.

We are of the strongest conviction that setting high standards to include high registration fees for parties and candidates, supported by the Legislature, the reduction of the number of parties would surely be realizable, and that not every ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ would jump from out of the ‘blue sky’ to form a political party or contest the presidency, Senate or Representative seat.

But as it is, the entire Liberian electoral process is characterized by the highest degree of ‘prostitution’.

This is why most elected offices are occupied by self-centred individuals, as well as those without any development orientation, but would always want to used ‘cash’ to foster political prostitution’ among poverty-stricken and belly-driven young people across Liberia.

Senators who really mean well must not relent, never despair, but continue to persevere in pursuit of reducing the number of political parties to enable Liberian voters to making informed decision.

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