A three-day advocacy engagement meeting on electoral reform with political parties will end today at the headquarters of the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) in Sinkor.
At the event, it is expected that those issues identified by participants would be presented to members of the 54th Legislature as recommendations for amendment to ensure that electoral processes and democracy are improved in the country.
It will further increase the quality and broaden the scope of public discourse on how and what portion of the laws need to be changed to improve the conduct of elections in Liberia.
The event is being organized by IREDD in partnership with the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI), and the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), with the purpose of bringing civil society organizations (CSOs) and political parties to work through engagements to identify issues on the need for electoral reform to ensure that electoral processes and democracy are improved.
The engagement meeting ran from August 12-16, 2019. It brought together civil society actors, representatives from political parties and partners.
IREDD executive director Harold Aidoo, informed participants that electoral reform is a cardinal component of every political institution, “because it determines how parties, marginalized youths, among them persons with disabilities can also have their voices in the conduct of elections in the country.”
Aidoo said that Liberia has conducted three successive elections following the end of the country’s civil crisis (1989-2003), which included the conducts of bye-elections that were positively documented, “but some of the issues identified in the document were the need to strengthen political party, youth participation, and the overall management of the country’s peace.
The IREDD project is funded by LAVI through United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The meeting also focused on changing the date of elections which, according to Article 83(A) of the Liberian Constitution, poses serious logistical challenges for authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC); financial constraints on political parties, and independent candidates during the campaigning period.
Article 83(A) reads: “Voting for the President, Vice-President, members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year.”
The electoral Program manager, Aaron Weah, said that IREDD is working with political parties and members of the 54th Legislature.