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Annual Governance Report on the Liberian Election System-2017


Over the last two years since the ending of the Ebola Virus pandemic, two developments have been on the minds of Liberians and have resonated in their conversations, namely, the United Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) withdrawal and the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections. Despite some uncertainties at first, Liberians are faring well as state security forces have taken over security responsibilities around the country and people are going about their daily activities in a peaceful environment.

Apprehensions about the departure of UNMIL were related in part to the upcoming 2017 elections. Though the third since 2005 when Liberia returned to constitutional rule, the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections are landmark, as Liberians are reminded that not since 1944 has there been the transfer of executive powers from one democratically elected president to another. Therefore, it is understandable that excitement and concerns fill the air.

In this report, the Governance Commission (GC) has sought to study the electoral system with a view to contributing to delivering peaceful and credible elections. The report examines the electoral rules and procedures, management structures of elections and the preparation for several phases of the process. It also recalls past electoral challenges from which lessons should be learned.

The report however, also seeks to go beyond a focus on the mechanics of elections, indispensable as these are to holding credible and peaceful elections, to contribute to understanding the role of elections in promoting citizenship, reconciliation and a development agenda, as are explicitly stated in the Liberian Constitution and Elections Law. These instruments and the processes they drive, require, for example, political parties to be broadly national in membership; prohibit them from espousing ideologies and agendas that are sectarian or promotive of violence, or division of any kind; and, for elections to be about making choices that should strengthen a sense of common citizenship, pursuing a common vision, strengthening reconciliation and deepening democracy. Thus, the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections must build on the gains of over a decade of peace and democracy. Liberians must make this happen.

Amos C. Sawyer



size:1.788Mb| Date posted: 16/03/2017       
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