House rejects replacing magistrates, increasing registration fees

The House of Representatives has amended certain sections of the new elections law of 1986 through 2014.. According to the committee, they agreed that candidates “registration fees for the post of President, Vice President, Representatives, and Senators remain at $5,000 for President, $3,500 for VP, US$ 500 for Representative and Senator $750 respectively, with…

The House of Representatives has amended certain sections of the new elections law of 1986 through 2014.

This followed a conference committee report of both the House and the Liberian Senate with key recommendations.

According to the committee, they agreed that candidates’ registration fees for the post of President, Vice President, Representatives, and Senators remain at $5,000 for President, $3,500 for VP, US$ 500 for Representative and Senator $750 respectively, with no increments.

On the question of replacing election magistrates and executive directors, the committee agreed that the appointment of Magistrates is purely administrative and should be left with Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC), but however, wants Magistrates to be rotated to avoid them getting involved in local politics.

The committee said on Section 4.5(1)(c) of the New Elections Law (1986), as amended through 2014, which state a list of candidates submitted to the commission for an election should endeavor to have no less than 30% of the candidates on the list from each gender.

“A list of candidates submitted by a political party, coalition or alliance of political parties to the Commission for general legislative elections and mid-term senatorial elections shall have no less than thirty percent (30%) of the candidates from each gender on the basis of a phased implementation process, as follows (i) For the 2023 general legislative elections and the 2026 mid-term senatorial elections, the list of candidates of a political party, coalition or alliance of political parties, which does not have the minimum of thirty percent (30%) of the candidates from each gender shall be returned by the Commission with the understanding that the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties may comply with this threshold for gender participation in politics by submitting a new list of candidates within the time published by the Commission for submission of list of candidates; which new list of candidates complies with the aforesaid threshold” the committee noted.

The committee also agreed that in the event that the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties fails to submit a new list of candidates which complies with the threshold or re-submits the rejected list of candidates, the Commission shall accept the rejected list of candidates or the new list of candidates, which does not comply with the threshold, provided that a fine of US$5,000.00 (United States Dollars Five Thousand) shall be imposed on the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties, to be paid into the treasury of the Government of Liberia and a receipt issued by the Liberia Revenue Authority within five (5) days as of the imposition of the aforesaid fine.

They said failure to timely pay the fine and present a receipt for payment of the fine shall cause the Commission to absolutely reject the list of candidates submitted by the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties. Within six (6) months as of Election Day, the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political party shall present to the Commission a plan and/or program of action intended to incentivize gender participation in elections with the view of complying with the thirty percent (30%) minimum threshold of candidates from each gender for every election thereafter and the Commission shall approve such plan and/or program of action for implementation by the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties.

For the 2029 legislative elections and the 2032 mid-term senatorial elections, the list of candidates of a political party, coalition or alliance of political parties, which does not have the minimum of thirty percent (30%) of the candidates from each gender shall be returned by the Commission with the understanding that the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties may comply with this threshold for gender participation in politics by submitting a new list of candidates within the time published by the Commission for submission of list of candidates; which new list of candidates complies with the aforesaid threshold.

The committee added that failure to submit a new list of candidates which complies with the threshold or re-submits the rejected list of candidates, the Commission shall accept the rejected list of candidates or the new list of candidates, which does not comply with the threshold, provided that a fine of US$10,000.00 (United States Dollars Ten Thousand) shall be imposed on the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties, to be paid into the treasury of the Government of Liberia and a receipt issued by the Liberia Revenue Authority within five (5) days as of the imposition of the aforesaid fine. Failure to timely pay the fine and present a

receipt for payment of the fine shall cause the Commission to absolutely reject the list of candidates submitted by the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties.

Within six (6) months as of Election Day, the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political party shall present to the Commission a plan and/or program of action intended to

incentivize gender participation in elections with the view of complying with the thirty percent (30%) minimum threshold of candidates from each gender for every election thereafter; and the Commission shall approve such plan and/or program of action for implementation by the defaulting political party, coalition or alliance of political parties.

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