Elections Campaigns Officially Begin Today

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NEC chair Jerome George Korkoya encourages women voters to register to make the exercise inclusive

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has declared campaign open for the ensuing elections as of today, Monday, July 31, at 12:01 a.m. until Sunday, October 8 at 11:59 p.m.

“During the campaign period,” NEC chairman Jerome G. Korkoya said, “candidates are allowed to publish or display campaign literature, posters, flyers, banners, t-shirts, caps or other promotional items designed to support their election.

“Both political parties and independent candidates are allowed to hold marches, parades, rallies or other assemblies for the purpose of soliciting voters and promoting their candidature by way of speeches, pictures, banners, placards, or any other printed materials. They can organize campaign committees, associations and movements to support their elections.”

Chairman Korkoya also warned political parties against the use of abusive and inciting speech on radio talk shows and at rallies and asked them to maintain the sanctity of the entire elections process. “The commission expects parties and candidates to conduct their campaign activities in a cordial and mature manner and to contribute to the conduct of a peaceful election,” he said.

He called on parties and candidates to take note and abide by the Ministry of Justice’s regulations on the organization of rallies and marches which are usually enforced by the police.

“The commission also reminds political parties and candidates of their commitment to a peaceful election as enshrined in both the Ganta Agreement and the Farmington River Declaration,” Korkoya said.

Campaign Finance

The NEC chairman warned all parties and candidates to take note of Section 7.3 of the New Elections Law of 1986 as amended in 2014 and observe the limits of all campaign expenses per candidates.

“For ease of reference, campaign expenses shall not be incurred or authorized by a candidate and or a party beyond the Liberian dollars or US$ equivalent: Presidential candidates shall not spend in excess of US$2,000,000 (two million United States dollars); vice presidential candidates, not more than US$1,000,000 (one million United States dollars); and representative candidates shall not spend no more than US$ 400,000 (four hundred thousand United States dollars),” he outlined.

Korkoya noted that consistent with Section 7.6 of the New Elections Law, the commission will prescribe forms on which candidates are to report their expenses.

“As mentioned in our press statement for the release of the final voter registration figures, three of our partners, IFES, NDI and UNMIL have offered to support political party trainings in campaign finance, candidate and party agent representation and alternative dispute resolution mechanism. We encourage all parties to take advantage of these training opportunities which are aimed at enhancing their capacity to adequately participate in these elections,” he said.

He said the accreditation of party and candidate’s agents and organizations wishing to observe this year’s elections will commence on August 5 and end on October 5. “All international organizations wishing to observe the elections may pick up accreditation forms from the political affairs section at the NEC’s headquarters in Monrovia while local organizations can pick up forms at the same venue as well as the commission’s 19 magisterial offices across the country,” Korkoya noted. He said media practitioners will receive their accreditation through a joint operation of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the NEC.

“Political parties and independent candidates contesting the elections are entitled to two representatives per polling place,” he said, adding that parties and candidates are to submit the names of their agents to the commission during the accreditation period.

Speaking on the final list of candidates contesting the October polls, Korkoya said 1,026 are qualified to contest; and out of that number, 20 are presidential candidates followed by a corresponding number of vice presidential candidates; two are independent presidential candidates followed by their deputies. “We are pleased to announce that 18 are political party presidential candidates. There are 986 representative candidates and of this number 863, or 84.1 percent, are males while 163 or 15.9 percent are females,” he said, adding that 928 are political party candidates while 98 are independent candidates.

He congratulated the government’s partners of the NEC, both local and international, for continuously supporting all the processes of the elections.

Authors

4 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome information, and we want to congratulate Chairman Korkoya for keeping to schedule amid all the seemingly unsurmountable obstacles few months ago. It is as a result of this great news, and in the interest of violence – free elections we want to follow – up on his promise of “June 14 2017 at a Press Conference that individuals with Voter Cards who are not captured or listed on the final Registration Roll will be permitted to vote during the pending October 10, 2017 Elections”.

    This follow – up is very significant because his esteemed colleague NEC Commission Jonathan Weedor in a Position Statement (published on the June 20, 2017 issue of theperspective.org, an old, respected, and widely – red Liberian online journal based in Atlanta, GA) decried what he headlined as “Chairman Korkoya’s Scam That Will Lead To Rigged Elections in Liberia”.

    In the statement, Commissioner Weedor noted that “The Chairman’s statement is alarming, disturbing, and troubling because a reliable and credible FRR is a cardinal requirement of every free, fair and transparent election. In fact, the essence of every voters’ registration exercise is to establish a voters’ roll that can account for every eligible voter who participated in the registration exercise. And so, the relevance of a reliable voters roll in every electoral process cannot be overemphasized because the absence of said roll is an open gate to fraud….”

    The question then boils down to the following:

    Since Commissioner Weedor’s statements confirm our earlier smoke alarm that the so – called new biometric, or whatever, ID system which was absent in the 2005 and 2011 general and presidential elections, and, dismayingly, introduced this year ostensibly to discourage voter fraud is just a lame excuse to prevent (disenfranchise) illiterate undocumented Liberian citizens from voting in these elections, what had Chairman Korkoya done in the last month to dispel those legitimate “suspicions” around the Final Voter Roll?

    Of course, we can’t say enough how important allowing all eligible Liberians to cast their votes is to the credibility of these ‘defining’ – a word we have belabored for obvious reasons – 2017 general and presidential elections. More especially, at a time the populace is dissatisfied and disenchanted with governance, and had lost confidence in the bureaucracy, particularly the Supreme Court, which is supposed to be the final arbiter in all elections’ related disputes.

    Folks, let’s not assume that because politicians are currently occupied with other electioneering activities, for example, strategizing, crafting manifestos, fundraising, etc., the integrity of the final Voter Roll will not be a cause of friction and confusion between them and NEC as soon as actual voting starts: Nip it in the bud, please!

  2. The biometric identification system is not being used by NEC this year. The idea was abandoned because of insufficient funding.

  3. On the auspicious occasion of the official commencement of the historic 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections, Liberians need to pause and give thanks to God for having enabled them to come this far in their just struggle for political equality and democracy.
    For more than 150 years, the overwhelming majority of the Liberian people were not even considered as full citizens of a country to which they paid taxes; there was only one political party in which only the descendants of the ex-slaves could excel; and elections were matters of formality in which the results were already known in advance.
    As late as 1975 when President Tolbert ran for reelection as Standard Bearer of the the True Whig Party, no opposition candidate was allowed on the ballot.
    But as oppression eventually creates resistance, by the early 70s better organized groups had emerged to challenge the colonial hegemony of the corrupt and obscurantist Congo elite – the same elite that had successfully used the aged – old tactics of divide and rule to keep the Native majority down. MOJA became the first and remained the vanguard in the movement to overthrow the Congo oligarchy, attracting to itself students, workers, and the urban poor. The Progressive Alliance of Liberia, PAL, later arrived on the stage to create havoc and attract to itself the lumpen proletariat. The Monrovia massacre of April 14, 1979 was the logical result of rising political consciousness in the country as a result of sustained effort by MOJA.
    But what finally broke the back of the corrupt Congua elite was the April 12 1980 coup which created new and positive political development in what was basically a feudal country owned and exploited by a few Monrovia-based families. The executions of the 13 Congo officials on April 21 did traumatize the Congo elite and created an exodus. But an old ruling class is a resilient social organism. Using their Ill-gotten wealth and connection, the deposed Congo returned to power after waging a 14 year genocidal war in which 300, 000 mostly Native Liberians perished.
    Fortunately, democracy has followed the silencing of the gun, creating an irony to allow previous opponents of democracy to compete for power against fighters for democracy. They are wolves in sheepskin seriously trying to reimpose the long discredited Congo dynasty on the country
    But the democratic revolution that will lead to the ultimate modernization of the Republic of Liberia will arise in the hinterland and march unstoppably to the coast. It will be fueled by Nationalism and its leaders will not stop for a single moment from thinking Liberia, loving Liberia, and building Liberia. Now, the Congua will only stand and wave, watching Boakai and Nuquay leading the long-oppressed and exploited masses to their
    ultimate destination of prosperity and freedom.
    A new and better day awaits the masses after October 10, with Boakai as President of the Republic of Liberia.

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