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Governance Commission Releases Finalized Copy of its AGR on Elections

The Governance Commission has released the finalized copy of its Annual Governance Report (AGR) on Elections urging political parties, candidates and stakeholders to strengthen commitment to peaceful, violence-free elections through solemn declaration, and commitment to an ethical code of conduct.

The GC Annual Governance report also supports calls for the monitoring of political parties’ and independent candidates’ source of funding in keeping with section 7 of the new elections law of Liberia. Section 7 of the new Elections law of Liberia highlights under elections campaign expenses remittances of funds from outside Liberia to political parties or independent candidates’ and restriction; limitation of election expenses; accounts of political parties and requirements for examination; campaign contributions, expenses and reports; and enforcement of reporting of contributions and expenses among others.

Some political parties have flaunted newly purchased cars, motorbikes and other election related materials which many have described as possible violations of the New Elections Law of Liberia. GC therefore urges NEC to work with national integrity institutions such as Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and others to monitor campaign financing and financial flows into political parties as prescribed in NEC’s mandate.

The annual governance report also highlights the use of elections as a platform for debate of national development issues, and that political parties and candidates should use such platforms for responsible debate of policy issues and priorities.

Other recommendations put forward in the AGR include Recruitment, training and equipping of adequate numbers of election magistrates and hearing officers; and strengthening of capacity and monitoring of campaign spending and financial flows into political parties.

The actions of election magistrates and hearing officers have been at the center of most elections disputes that have reached the Supreme Court. NEC should set a requirement of the minimum numbers of party agents to be recruited by each party, provide sound training for them, and require and monitor their full deployment”.

The election of a new government in 2017 and inauguration in January 2018 will mark the first since 1944 where executive authority will be transferred from one elected president to another. These elections are expected to lay the political foundations upon which Liberians will continue to maintain peace, advance development and pursue reconciliation.

The AGR intends to contribute to the strengthening of the electoral system and assure the holding of peaceful and credible elections in Liberia. It, among other issues, examines the institutions, actors, rules, procedures and processes that constitute the electoral system of Liberia. It also seeks to identify issues for post-elections electoral reform and to elevate consciousness about how elections are important to peace and development in Liberia. More information on the GC AGR can be found on the GC website- www.governancecommissionlr.org.

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