Liberia: Weah Administration Says Gender Quota Clause Was not Vetoed



— But press release from the House of Representatives says the President did veto the clause 

A Ministry of Information statement that President George Weah did not veto the 30 percent gender quota amendment to the New Elections Law, is not true.

“The Government of Liberia has denied reports that President George M. Weah vetoed a crucial aspect of the New Elections Law that would guarantee 30 percent women’s participation in the National Legislature,” the Ministry said in a statement last week.

The statement also claimed that the President, while rejecting some of the bills from the 54th Legislature, expressed his support for the affirmative action bill that was sponsored by the Women’s Legislative Caucus.

However, Weah, in a letter to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers in March, as quoted by the House press department, clearly stated that the President vetoed the requirements that a political party’s list of candidates to the National Elections Commission include no less than 30% from each gender.

The House quoted the President as saying… “The sections vetoed by the President including the requirements that a political party’s list of candidates to the National Elections Commission (NEC) shall include no less than 30% from each gender.”

Yet, the Ministry of Information is saying that the President did not veto the gender quota amendment. This comes as the President has been heavily criticized for vetoing several legislative amendments to the country’s electoral law, including the gender quota. 

The amendments in question sought to make 30% of gender representation mandatory.  It would have empowered the National Elections Commission (NEC) to fine or delist any political parties that failed to adhere to the gender quotas.

The Gender quota clause, which is a special legislative measure to redress the historical marginalization of women from political life, comes as women struggle to gain equal representation in the legislature. 

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union's latest available data (2021), women in Liberia are significantly underrepresented in politics. As of January 2021, women held only 10 out of 103 seats in Liberia’s House of Representatives, which is only 9.7% of the total seats. In the Senate, women hold 2 out of 30 seats, or 6.7%.