The Carter Center (TCC) International Observer Mission in Liberia wants members of the Legislature to enact a law that will require a full review of electoral legislation through an inclusive consultative process to address gaps and inconsistencies, with the goal of bringing the legal framework in line with international standards for democratic elections.
The recommendation was contained in TCC’s preliminary elections statement issued yesterday following the December 26 presidential run-off.
TCC Observer Mission in Monrovia is headed by Senegal former Prime Minister, Dr. Aminata Toure. At a press conference, Dr. Toure said following a careful review and timing of the elections, and the time frames for resolving electoral disputes, the aim of condensing the timeline and streamlining the hearing process, was to bring the process in line with international standards for an effective remedy.
Dr. Toure currently serves as vice president the Jordan Ryan Peace Program at TCC. She told reporters that setting a time frame to resolve election related disputes in line with international standards will be one best way to prevent conflict in the electoral process in Liberia.
In count three of the recommendations, Dr. Toure said thorough review of the voter registration system that builds on the experience of the electoral process required a more robust mechanism for stakeholder consultations and communication.
TCC recommended further that a concerted effort to increase women’s participation in the political process be made through targeted over education, recruitment as election staff, and the strengthening of requirements for their representation in political parties.
TCC also wants a strengthened training program for poll workers and the further elaboration of polling and counting procedures; a stronger emphasis on civic and voter education, which was affected in the run-off by dispute-resolution process and the stay on electoral activity; a plan to ensure the equal access of marginalized groups to all parts of the political process and to reinforce their fundamental rights.
She also said the Carter Center assessed the implementation of the procedures and described it as “Very good or reasonable” in all tally centers, noting that unlike the first round wherein observers reported corrections of some forms at tally centers, this occurred much less often so far in the second round.
From the run-off election, the Liberia Elections Observation Network (LEON), the Elections Coordination Committee (ECC), and the Council of Churches recruited and trained observers.
Dr. Toure emphasized the importance of civic and voter education, which was affected in the runoff by the dispute-resolution process and the stay on electoral activity and a plan to ensure the equal access of marginalized groups of all parts of the political process and to reinforce their fundamental rights in society.
She said “following the December 7 supreme court ruling on the joint Liberty Party and Unity Party complaint, the NEC was mandated to take additional steps to improve confidence in the integrity of the process. These steps included among others things a full clean-up of the final registration roll (FRR) to remove duplicate registration and identical voters ID card number, public display of the roll at each polling center in advance of the elections, and new restrictions that limited the use of supplemental voter list so that those mentioned in the NEC’s procedures could vote at a polling center other than their place of registration.”
Dr. Toure explained that with the assistance of a technical team from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the NEC undertook a further review of the final FRR and rectified repeated voter ID numbers, as well as a small number of duplicate registration entries following which the review of 361 entries were deleted and 420 new IDs were issued to persons registered with the duplicate voter ID number.
It can be recalled that the first result of the October 10 elections was heavily challenged before the supreme court by the Liberty Party(LP), Unity Party(UP), Alternative National Congress (ANC) and All Liberian Party but the court resolved the conflict and told the NEC to go ahead with the runoff elections.
The court however, told NEC to clean up the FRR and display a copy at the headquarters of all political parties and display said copies to every polling center to ensure that the process is free, fair and transparent.