‘Liberia’s Constitution Does not Permit Electoral Transparency’

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The Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) has released its final technical observation reports declaring that the Liberia constitution is a heavy burden on electoral matters that sometimes questions the credibility and the works of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

The ECC said Article 83 (c) of the Liberia Constitution that gave judicial power to authorities of the NEC creates conflict of interest.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the Chairman of ECC Mr. Oscar Bloh said the conflict of interest does not reflect transparency in addressing electoral grievances and petitions in cases wherein NEC is a respondent.

The ECC is recommending amendments to the 1986 Constitution such as a change of election date, reduction in the tenure of the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives and removal of all judicial powers from the NEC and establishment of an Electoral Tribunal instead to adjudicate all electoral disputes.

Because of the many provisions that require amendments, the ECC is opting for the writing of a new Constitution based on previous work done by the dissolved Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), he said.

Mr. Bloh said inconsistencies among the Constitution, Statute and Regulations need to be harmonized.

“The Constitutional provisions on the formation of political parties are obsolete. Some of the political parties and independent candidates did not meet the requirements contained under the Party Results Section contained in the National Elections Laws,” he said.

“ NEC lacks the capacity to monitor the campaign finances of political parties. Most of the provisions in the NEL and Guidelines do not contain sanctions in the event where there are violations.”

Mr. Bloh recommended that the Legislature should draft a comprehensive Political Parties Law in consultation with political parties, civil society, the NEC and other stakeholders.

“Most provisions of the “Guidelines Relating to the Registration of Political Parties and Independent Candidates” should be integrated into the proposed law with appropriate sanctions in case of non-compliance by political parties,” he said.