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Abolish NEC’s ‘Player, Referee’ Status

-As CSOs Crave Tribunal For Elections

By Esau J. Farr

Society Organizations (CSOs) and political parties in Liberia are calling for the establishment of an election tribunal to decide all complaints and irregularities arising from all national elections in Liberia.

The call was made Wednesday March 27, 2019 at a one-day stakeholder’s conference organized by the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) at a local hotel in Monrovia.

The decision to call for the establishment of a tribunal was taken by the stakeholders after CSOs and political parties leaders alarmed over what they considered as the NEC serving as “player and referee” in settling election disputes in the country.

“We don’t want to see a situation where a body or someone will be seen as a player and at the same time a referee,” one political party representative said in a rather angry tone.

The call for the establishment of the proposed election tribunal for Liberia was contained in a resolution produced during a working session by CSOs and political leaders at the one-day forum.

The proposal is a part of the electoral reform issues being proffered by other major stakeholders in electoral decision making processes meant to effect changes in the election laws of Liberia ahead of the 2020 Special Senatorial Election and the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia.

Other electoral reform issues proposed by the stakeholders include the change of election date in Liberia from the second Tuesday in October of each election year to a period in the Dry Season, that the

Legislature establishes a civic education commission responsible to carry out civic and voter education and the teaching of civic education to be included in the national curriculum of the country school system amongst others.

participants of the conference came up with the various proposals that make up the resolution after a review of each of the four policy papers highlighted by the ECC.

The policy papers included the Legal Framework, Civic Education, Political Parties and Compliance and Election Management.

Because of the importance attached to the policy papers, participants at the conference were sub-divided into four groups according to the policy papers.

Under the Legal Framework, one group of participants were brainstorming on how to propose possible legal and statutory reforms in the Electoral law of the country in line with the constitution; another group of stakeholders were putting under the spotlight the form, manner and means of carrying out awareness and civic education across the country that leads to free, fair, transparent and credible elections in Liberia in the future as the country gets on the path of maturity in a resilience democracy in post conflict nation like Liberia; another group of them was focused on compliance issues with political parties within Liberia in relations to established election laws and international protocols as election is concerned while the last group of participants was concerned with the handling and or management of election to holistically satisfy all players within the process.  TNR

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