IREDD Suggests Financial Autonomy For Liberia's Elections Commission

Posted on Mar-26 2018

The Institute for Research and Democratic Development is recommending that the National Elections Commission be provided financial autonomy in order to “stem the tide of political influence”. IREDD says this would ensure adequate long-term civic education and decentralization of recruitment across the country. The organization is also calling on government to prioritize the establishment of an independent elections complaint body separate from the administrative aspect of the NEC. IREDD recommendation comes in the wake of disagreement between the NEC and the Ministry of Finance over a proposed budget for the conduct of two pending senatorial by-elections in Bong and Montserrado Counties. Samuel Tweah, Liberia's Finance Minister, and Jerome Korkoya, Chair of NEC, have been embroiled in war of words over the commission's request for a US$3.9 Million for the conduct of the by-elections. Min. Tweah alleged that the commission's budget is unreasonably high and that government can only provide US$1.5 million. During a day long lessons learnt event in Monrovia on the Liberia's 2017 Legislative and Presidential Elections on way forward to improve further elections, IREDD in a resolution, called for political tolerance in Liberia democratic participation. “A profound and necessary test for our Judiciary will greatly improve the participation of youths in our democracy as established by the increased participation of young people in the democratic process either as direct participant or as surrogates,” stated the resolution. In the resolution, several CSO's and political parties, national elections commission, Liberia national police, youth groups, as well as international actors deliberated and reflected on challenges of the 2017 elections. They also examined activities that could lead to democratic consolidation and theorized on potential entry points that could lead to reform of electoral management. They stated that, “the conduct of the 2017 elections contributed immensely to a greater understanding and appreciation of the role of the judicial system in a democracy as well as a broadening of the general understanding of the electoral and legal processes led to the creation or bolstering of a more robust picture of democratic consolidation and image of Liberia in the community of Nations”. Among many challenges, the 11 count resolution pointed out that the lack of a finalized, sanitized final registration roll (FRR) created some semblance of doubt about the authenticity of elections results and fueled speculations about partisan nature of the elections. “Minimal inter-agency coordination amongst actors involved either peripherally or directly with elections management created some degree of confusion and disorderliness for the elections,” states the resolution. “The limitation or inadequacy of logistics to address all phases of the elections from start to end affected predictability and contributed to a sense of external influence on elections results”. The chaotic nature of the voter registrations process as well as the information surrounding the sourcing/contracting process also contributed towards voters' skepticism, it said.





WAEON collaborates with NDI in the Liberian 2017 Elections

The West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) is collaborating with the Washington DC-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) to participate in the upcoming general elections in Liberia, scheduled for October 10, 2017. Through NDI, WAEON will contribute to NDI International Observation Mission for the elections.

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