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GC Suggests Increase In Party Base Membership
Date Uploaded: May 04, 2017

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GC Suggests Increase In Party Base Membership

By Wilfred Gortor

MONROVIA, May 2 (LINA) - The Governance Commission (GC) has called for an increase from the original base membership of 500 qualified voters and the number of counties in which parties must recruit their base membership.

The above is one of the recommendations the Commission made in its 2016 annual report released recently on Liberia’s electoral system for consideration following the 2017 elections.

The recommendation, according to the GC, is against the backdrop that the base membership of 500 qualified voters in each of six counties was set in 1985 when the population of Liberia was estimated to be 2.1 million people, resulting from the 1984 national census report.

Today’s population is estimated at 4.3 million with accelerated growth of youth population, including those of voting age, the Commission pointed out.

The Commission added that, moreover, the political jurisdictions within which constituencies are demarcated have increased, adding that “in 1985, there were nine counties, today there are15.”

It added: “Thus, the required base membership needs to be increased from the original 500 and the number of counties in which parties must recruit their base membership needs to also be increased so that a more representative spread of population and regions in the membership of political parties can be ensured.”

The Commission observed that the multiplicity of political parties in Liberia is as the result of the existence of a competitive environment for the practice of multiparty politics.

As one of the most loudly heard issues, the GC said there has been a flood in registration of political parties contesting presidential elections in Liberia since the reintroduction of electoral democracy in 1985.

It says, maintaining this environment is mandatory if multiparty democracy is to be ingrained in the political culture of Liberia as it is becoming constitutional.

The GC noted that statutory measures be taken to avoid the emergence of situation that could affect the proper management of the electoral system without infringing on the rights of citizens to organize and operate political parties.

The GC has also observed that there has also been advocacy for an increase in fees required for the registration of a political party as a measure to elevate the requirements and possibly reduce the number of political parties.

It noted that the intention of the Constitution is to provide the broadest possible opportunity for the creation of political parties by citizens regardless of economic status or social situation.

According to the GC, a balance needs to be struck so that there can be reasonable regulation of the process of forming political parties to avoid a flooding of political party space on the one hand, while ensuring that the party formation process is not elevated beyond the reach of citizens who are poor.



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