National Election Commission (NEC)
Parties Commit To Non-Violent Elections In 2017
MONROVIA, September 27 (LINA) - Registered political parties in the country have signed a resolution committing themselves to a violence free election in 2017.
The 22 parties signed the petition in Ganta, Nimba County, September 23, at the end of a meeting to discuss their cooperation and commitment to ensuring violence-free elections in 2017.
The meeting was in furtherance of an informal dialogue held among some members of the Inter-Party Consultative Committee (IPCC) in consideration of a previous meeting held at the National Elections Commission (NEC) to discuss what could be done to mitigate the possibility of violence before, during and after the 2017 polls.
According to a NEC release issued Tuesday, the political parties committed themselves to taking all necessary steps, including adhering to all elections-related Laws and Guidelines, to ensure violence-free election in 2017.
They also pledged to develop sensitization framework that consistently evokes partisans’ ownership for the maintenance of peace and democracy in the country while keeping their campaigns civil and issues-based.
The 22 registered political parties also committed themselves to frequent inter-party dialogue and communication under the IPCC framework to ensure violence-free polls.
At the same time, political parties have called on the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, United States of America, the European Union, among others, to join Liberians in ensuring free and fair elections in 2017.
Among possible sources of conflict identified by the political parties for which remedial actions should be taken is the lack of a constitutional threshold for the 2017 Elections.
The parties also identified delay in the conduct of voter registration for the 2017 Elections; enforcement of the Codes of Conduct for political parties and candidates; observance of the rule of law; independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the security forces.
Other conflict sources the parties said are the prohibition placed on media outlets, including the social media, from announcing progressive results to the public; the virtual control exercised over the state-owned media, whereby political parties views are substantially lowered; denial of access to political party’s agents at voting centers by elections workers and unresolved issues regarding the proscribing of some political parties.
The prevailing trend of hate messages in some circles of the media; orchestration by local officials to deny opposition parties access to public facilities; delay in releasing list of approved voting precincts, and in some cases, abrupt change of precincts without adequate information to help political parties prepare for such change of venues, are other thorny issues the parties said.
They further cited the sporadic release of election results from across the country, and in some cases, the suppression of some results from voting centers and the porous nature of Liberian borders which facilitates entrance of non-Liberians to participate in voters’ registration in Liberia are also potential triggers of conflict identified by the political parties.
The meeting was funded by the European Union through the U.N. Development Program and U.S. Agency for International Development through the International Foundation Electoral Systems.