Sen. Judiciary Committee wants Election Law reformed
By Ethel A Tweh
The Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petition of the Liberian Senate over the weekend concluded a two-day retreat on the proposed amendments to the Elections Law.
The retreat was chaired by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman. It was intended to inform members of the Judiciary Committee on the proposed amendments.
The retreat brought together a number of experts including representatives from political parties and civil society organizations, including the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The various groups provided their inputs on the amendments for possible consideration by the Plenary of the Liberia Senate.
Among issues considered during the retreat was the amendment of Section 7.3 (2) of the current election law to have the current registration fees for candidates increased.
They also discussed Section 4.5 (1d) of the election law to have a mandatory clause in the law for gender representation of political parties submitting a list of candidates in general elections.
The retreat also took into consideration the amendment to Section 5.12(3) of the law which talks about hearing and determination of complaints.
The retreat also considered an amendment to allow Stipendiary Magistrates as hearing officers hear complaints arising from elections instead of a hearing officer in the employ of the NEC.
Further, the two days’ retreat also considered that the appointment of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission should not be left to the President alone.
It was suggested that such an appointment should be done from a list scrutinized by a vetting committee submitted to the President.
They also took into account that all appointees within the Executive wishing to contest in pending elections resign one year, instead of two and three years as required in the Code of Conduct.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petition, Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman has commended the experts, civil society actors and representatives of political parties, and the NEC for their inputs and suggestions during the retreat.
The committee is expected to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate Plenary shortly for subsequent action. –Edited by Winston W. Parley