About 23 political parties in Liberia have agreed to collaborate for the conduct of non-violent, free and fair elections next year. They reached the consensus over the weekend in Ganta, Nimba County during a workshop organized by the National Elections Commission or NEC with support from the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], European Union [EU] USAID, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems or IFES.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Ganta, NEC co-chairperson Cllr. Sarah M. Toe said, the commission is particularly pleased that political parties, which are the major stakeholders to the electoral process, are leading the discussions for the conduct of peaceful elections in 2017.
According to Cllr. Toe, government, civil society, political parties and international partners as well as the citizenry all have major roles to play in the conduct of peaceful elections. She noted that the roles of political parties in the electoral process cannot be emphasized.
Cllr. Toe assured that the prospect for peaceful elections is possible through adherence to the rules governing the polls. Also speaking, the director for democracy and governance at USAID-Liberia, Jeremy Meadows said the United States recognizes the importance and necessary contribution well-structured and developed political parties can make to building and maintaining a stable, pluralistic democracy, noting that active and engaged political parties are hallmarks of a vibrant democracy.
He noted that political parties should be based on solid ideological platforms that represent the views of their constituents. For her part, the European Union Ambassador to Liberia TiinaIntelmann called on Liberians to critically think of the 2017 elections.
Ambassador Intelmann said the upcoming polls hold the future of the Country and children. The 23 political parties agreed on an 11-count resolution, upholding free and non-violence elections, among others.
The Secretary-General for the former governing National Patriotic Party (NPP) Andrew Peters, commended the NEC, UNDP, IFES and USAID for the workshop and pledged the parties’ commitment to free and non-violence elections come 2017.
All of the 23 political parties at the inter-party consultative committee workshop signed the resolution, committing themselves to free and non-violence elections in 2017.
Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing By Jonathan Browne