Liberia’s multi-party democracy as enshrined in its 1986 Constitution allows for the registration of an uncountable number of political parties. In previous elections since 1997, between 20 and 30 political parties have always participated.
At the moment, the National Elections Commission or NEC has already certificated 20 political parties and more to be for the 2017 general and Presidential elections in Liberia. Of all of the lapses in the current Liberian Constitution, the issue of multi-party democracy in which uncountable number of parties are allowed to register and participate in elections, is one that must attract the Liberian Legislature as it goes through the recently submitted propositions for constitutional amendments.
Political parties already known in Liberian politics are the ruling Unity Party, Congress for Democratic Change, Liberty Party, Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia, People’s Democratic Party of Liberia, True Whig Party and National Union for Democratic Progress. Others are the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, National Patriotic Party, National Democratic Coalition t, All Liberia Coalition Party, National Democratic Party of Liberia, National Reformation Party, United Democratic Alliance, Liberia National Union and Liberia Education and Development Party.
The Reformation Alliance Party, Liberia Equal Rights Party, Reformed United Liberia Party, Liberian Destiny Party, Liberia National Alliance, All Liberia Party, Move for Economic Empowerment, Independent Democratic Party of Liberia, Progressive People’s Party, United Democratic Party, Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia, Labor Party of Liberia, National Party of Liberia, National Vision Party of Liberia, Progressive Democratic Party, Union of Liberian Democrats, while more are expected ahead of 2017.
It is no secret that the proliferation of political parties in a country of about four million people only confuses the voting population – especially the majority illiterate and half-educated. As a result, decision-making for them becomes very confusing and difficult.
For a country as Liberia with a population of about four millions, the proliferation of parties is just un-necessary; Liberia needs between one to four political parties to facilitate a free and fair decision-making process for Liberian voters.
While it is understood that the huge number of political parties in Liberia may purposely be for future political accommodations in the case a party wins, greed for power on the part of politicians and presidential aspirants may also be an underlying factor despite their inability to attract votes while also confusing voters.
To avoid the confusion, conflict or whatever one may call it before, during and after the 2017 general and presidential elections, the need for the drastic reduction of the number of political parties in Liberia cannot be over-emphasized. This would require mergers, coalitions and collaborations.
In view of the foregoing, we appeal to leaders of the Unity Party, Congress for Democratic Change, as well as the Liberty Party, among others, to put aside all personal egos/ambitions and other selfish desires in the interest of the nation they claim to love so much and opt for the reduction of parties by engaging other smaller political parties, with the understanding that no single political party can out-rightly and absolutely score victory over the other come 2017.
The voting population of Liberia would rather appreciate and go for a politically acceptable decision-making to elect one of them in 2017, than continued to remain in a state of confusion in terms of who really to vote for.