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UNMIL Electoral Unit

By Gladys Tucker,2014-05-17 15:16
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UNMIL Electoral Unit

    Republic of Liberia

    National Elections Commission (NEC)

    PRESS BRIEFING NOTES 19-July-2005

    TALKING POINTS

    CLLR. FRANCES JOHNSON-MORRIS

    CHAIR OF THE NATIONAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION

    ? NEC COMPLETES DETERMINATION OF OBJECTIONS EXERCISE

    One hundred and eighty four people who were rejected for ineligibility during the April-May Voter

    Registration exercise will now be able to vote in the 11 October Elections in Liberia. Another 71 whose

    names were challenged during the 30 June to 2 July exhibition of the Provisional Registration Roll (PRR)

    have also retained their right to vote on polling day.

    This is the result of the recently concluded Determination of Objections exercise which took place

    from 11-13 July. A total of three rejections and 117 objections were upheld by County Magistrates of the

    National Elections Commission (NEC). In addition, 993 persons who were in possession of valid voter

    registration cards, but whose names were not on the PRR, have now been included.

    As stated previously, during the exhibition period, those who lodged objections or challenged names

    on the Roll were given the opportunity to substantiate such challenges, with the burden of proof falling upon

    them. In addition, those persons rejected during the registration exercise who were issued with rejection

    forms were given the chance to provide one of six required proofs of their eligibility in order to register.

    County Rejections Rejections Objections Objections

    Upheld Overturned Upheld Rejected

    Upper Montserrado 0 3 3 12

    Lower Montserrado 1 76 14 16

    Grand Bassa 0 97 0 9

    Margibi 0 3 0 9

    Grand Cape Mount 0 0 0 0

    Gbarpolu 0 0 0 0

    Lofa 0 0 3 11

    Bomi 0 0 5 2

    Upper Bong 0 0 89 0

    Lower Bong 0 0 0 0

    Upper Nimba 0 0 0 3

    Lower Nimba 0 0 1 1

    Grand Gedeh 0 0 1 0

    Maryland 0 0 0 0

    Grand Kru 0 0 1 0

    River Gee 2 0 0 0

    Sinoe 0 0 0 0

    River Cess 0 5 0 8

    TOTALS 3 184 117 71

    ? NOMINATIONS PROCESS KICKS OFF

    Nomination of candidates by registered parties and independent candidates will begin this Thursday

    21 July and end on 6 August. A help desk to assist nominees was available from yesterday, 18 July and will thbe operational throughout the process. Located in the National Investment Commission building (NIC), 12

    Street, Sinkor, Monrovia, the desk is a ready source of information and guidance on the nominations

    procedures. Related forms and the manual with requirements are also available from the help desk.

    No applications will be accepted after the closing date of 6 August. Nominations will take place

    every day except Sundays and the Independence Day Holiday. Early submission of nominations is

    encouraged to allow corrections and amendments to be made. The final list of candidates will be published

    15 August.

    ? REGISTRATION OF POLITICAL ALLIANCES AND COALITIONS ENDS TODAY

    Today is the last day for political alliances or coalitions to be issued with certificates of registration

    from the NEC. The Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (COTOL) composed of the Liberian Action

    Party (LAP), Liberian Unification Party (LUP) and the People’s Democratic Party of Liberia (PDPL) was

    registered on 15 July. This coalition joins the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), composed of the

    United People’s Party (UPP) and the Liberia People’s Party (LPP), which was registered on 4 July.

    In addition to these alliances and coalitions the number of political parties registered is still 30.

    [The parties registered to date are the Reformed United Liberia Party (RULP); Freedom Alliance

    Party of Liberia (FAPL); National Vision Party (NATVIPOL); Liberia Destiny Party (LDP); Independent

    Democratic Party (IDP); Progressive Democratic Party (PRODEMP); National Party of Liberia (NLP);

    Liberia Education and Development Party (LEAD); the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC); Union of

    Liberian Democrats (ULD); Liberty Party (LP); United Democratic Party (UDP); True Whig Party (TWP);

    United People’s Party (UPP); Liberia People’s Party (LPP); National Patriotic Party (NPP); Reformation

    Alliance Party (RAP); People’s Democratic Party of Liberia (PDPL); Liberia Action Party (LAP); National

    Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL); Unity Party (UP); Liberia National Union (LINU); Liberian

    Unification Party (LUP); Free Democratic Party (FDP); All Liberia Coalition Party (ALCOP); Progressive

    People’s Party (PPP); Labour Party of Liberia (LPL); Liberia Equal Rights Party (LERP); National

    Reformation Party (NRP) and the New Deal Movement (NDM).]

    ? NATIONWIDE DISTRIBUTION OF VOTER EDUCATION POSTERS AND FLIP-CHARTS BEGINS

    Nationwide distribution of the poster, "Our Vote, Their Future" is underway. This is the kick off for

    a campaign which will run for the next four months and just one of numerous other visual aids that will be

    released to encourage the full participation of registered Liberians in the upcoming elections. The "Our Vote,

    Their Future" poster urges Liberians to vote for the benefit of their children’s future.

    The arrival of flip charts this week will mark the start of a countrywide face-to-face communication

    drive. The flipchart uses a combined visual and narrative style to educate the public on various topics such

    as knowing your candidates, steps for polling, and the private nature of casting a ballot. A medium that was

    also used during the registration exercise, the flip chart is effective with smaller audiences, and is a valuable

    tool in generating in-depth discussions about the electoral process.

    ? UNDP MOBILE MEDIA UNIT PROJECT

    UNDP is preparing to launch a Mobile Media Unit (MMU) which will be fully operational by 1

    August. One of the key activities of this Unit will be the dissemination of Voter/Civic Education messages

    via film for the 2005 Elections. The MMU will travel throughout Liberia, focusing on rural and hard-to-

    reach areas.

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    In each area, a short film will be shown, followed by discussions which will be filmed as they occur.

    These discussions will in turn be shown to other communities to reflect cross-cutting societal issues. The

    MMU is an innovative tool which allows the Liberian public to digest messages visually, and its

    participatory nature allows for the quick incorporation of local vernacular and cultural nuances. The MMU

    will operate up to and include polling day.

    ? NEC PUBLISHES ELECTORAL DISTRICTS

    Last Friday, the NEC published the 64 Electoral districts that have been delimited for the Election in

    October. The newspapers which have displayed these districts so far are the: National Chronicle, New

    Democrat; Heritage; Informer; Daily Observer; Inquirer; The News; Independent, and the New Broom. The

    Forum, Poll Watch, and Plain Truth will also feature the list.

    As this is a very lengthy document, if members of the press require details of the districts, they can

    contact the NEC Information Officer, Bobby Livingstone.

    ? SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

    When asked whether any progress has been made by the NEC on the prosecution of the 200

    individuals whose registration had been found to be suspect, the NEC Chair said the Ministry of Justice had

    not contacted the Commission with a progress report, nor had it requested that witnesses be brought forth

    for legal proceedings. “The case is still in the hands of the Ministry who handed it over to the litigation section”, she said.

    Elaborating on the eligibility of persons who had not registered to vote but wished to run for

    political office, Cllr. Johnson-Morris stated that the holding of a voters card was a pre-requisite for being a

    candidate, stressing that this was clearly stated in the guidelines.

    When asked if the NEC was going to be rigid about keeping to the deadline which states that today

    is the last day for political alliances or coalitions to be issued with certificates of registration, the Chair said

    that the Commission would be flexible, but within reason. “The NEC encourages the forming of alliances

    and understands that the process of forming these partnerships may require extensive negotiations between

    the parties. If an extension of a few hours or days is required, this may be considered but not two to three

    weeks.” To date, only one alliance and one coalition have been certified by NEC.

    Responding to a question on the number of Independent Candidates on record, Cllr. Johnson-Morris

    said that the process had not yet ended, [it starts on 21 July and ends on 6 August] and therefore a final

    figure was not available.

     On the issue of the number of polling places for the election, the NEC Chair said people would cast

    their vote where they registered. One thousand, five hundred and eleven centres had been opened for voter

    registration and there would probably be just as many, if not more polling places given that the maximum

    number of people allowed to vote at any one booth would be 500 [to 600]. She went on to say, however,

    that voter registration centres (VRCs) that were close to each other - as had been the case in places such as

    Monrovia for example - might be consolidated through an exercise designed to make polling more efficient.

    We are adjusting VRCs on the proviso that no one should walk more than 30 minutes to get to a polling

    place” as against the four to five hours that some people did for the registration exercise”, she added.

    The NEC chair explained that the final number of people on the registration roll was not yet

    available as the process has not ended. Following the determinations process last week, appeals might have

    to be dealt with following the proceedings with Magistrates. She pointed out that additional appeals might

    be made to both the NEC and the Supreme Court. “Until the process of objections and appeals is exhausted,

    we will not know the final figure on the roll”, said Cllr. Johnson-Morris.

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    In response to a follow up question on what prompted UNDP to set up a Mobile Media Unit to

    disseminate civic/voter education to remote areas when the NEC had a responsibility to roll out such

    activities, the Chair stated that the Commission could not successfully conduct civic education alone. “We

    need partners and that’s why they’re here”, she said. “We choose town meetings with elders as one of our

    approaches while one of our partners has opted for the MMU. We are trying to complement rather than

    outdo each other”, she added.

    Addressing developments in the case brought against the Liberian Action Party (LAP) for premature

    campaigning, the NEC chair said that a draft of the final ruling was currently being edited before being

    issued to the relevant people. She explained that such a ruling had legal consequences and therefore required

    a thorough review process.

    In closing, NEC Co-Chair James M. Fromayan drew attention to an error in a recent news editorial

    that mentioned the donation of 18 vehicles by the Economic Commission for West African States

    (ECOWAS) to the Commission last week and pointed out that the donation had been made by Abdulsalami

    Abubaker, the Chief Mediator of ECOWAS and not the Executive Secretary as had been reported.

    * *** *

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