Diplomatic Community Reinforces Push for Gender Quota Law

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Twelve Diplomatic Missions in Liberia have frowned on the decision by the House’s Committee on Elections and Referendum to remove the Gender Quota Clause in the proposed new elections law, which forces political parties to reserve 30% leadership position slots for women.

Section 4.5 of the pending Election Law compels political parties to have a minimum of 30% of women representation in their national executive and candidate lists for election and also ensuring that the National Election Commission rejects any party that does not comply.

The diplomatic missions, led by the UN, ECOWAS and EU, reminded the Legislature that more inclusive institutions can contribute to overcoming current inequities and upholding the tenets of democracy to which Liberia subscribes and advancing national development.

In a statement issued in Monrovia on February 8, 2021, the diplomatic missions asked the Legislature to support the proposed electoral reform bill, which they argued represents the actual wish and aspiration of the Liberian voting population, which aim is to improve the administration of electoral processes in Liberia.

“We urge the 54th Legislature to support the proposed electoral reform bill submitted by the National Elections Commission seeking concurrence on an amendment of Sections 4.5 to institute an enforceable 30% Gender Quota on candidate listings and the leadership of political parties and coalitions,” the statement said.

“The recommendations for an enforceable, unambiguous gender quota were put forth by your constituencies through inclusive and substantive consultations, and we are confident that you will uphold the will of the people of Liberia in introducing gender parity for electoral office,” the statement added. 

According to the statement, the proposed amendments to the Elections Law are the result of a widespread consultative process with the people of Liberia, whose outcome underscored the necessity of establishing gender parity targets.

It added, “We note that this bill represents a unique opportunity for Liberia to address the longstanding issue of underrepresentation of women in politics. It echoes the aspirations of the international conventions and treaties to which Liberia is a signatory, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.”

The diplomatic community’s statement comes after the Liberia Elections Observation Network (LEON) condemned earlier the move by the House Committee on Elections and Referendum to replace or alter section 4.5 of the proposed new election law.

McDella Cooper, the political leader of the Movement Of One Liberia (MOL), had voiced out earlier that the action of the House’s Committee is a complete violation and disrespect to all international and regional laws and protocols that Liberia signed and ratified.

She added that “Section 4.5 1b does not give women seats on a silver platter, but rather gives them space to freely compete and campaign as the men do and win.”

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