December 6, 2023

President Weah Vetoes Several Specific Items of Amended Elections Law

Monrovia, Liberia – The President of the Republic, H. E. Dr. George Manneh Weah has vetoed several specific items or sections of the newly amended Elections Law recently submitted to his office by the National Legislature.

The National Legislature through the House of Representatives recently approved and submitted to the President ”An Act To Amend Certain Sections Of The New Elections Law (1986) As Amended Through 2014.”

But informing the House of Representatives whence the Bill originated, the Liberian Leader cited the timing, contravention, and/or disharmony with already existing laws, including the Constitution.

In his communication, President Weah said while he is in support of other sections in the bill, there are sections/items in said Bill that are either already addressed by existing constitutional provisions; existing statute; or that are better addressed through the existing, independent recruitment process of the NEC.

Line items vetoed by the President include amendment of Section 2.1 regarding Office of the National Elections Commission; amendment of Section 2.2 on appointment and Tenure; amendment of Section 2.11 on Vice Chairperson, and amendment of Section 2.12, which mandates the NEC to appoint a Legal Counsel and Research Officer from a shortlist of candidates submitted to it by the Liberian National Bar Association.

Also vetoed by President Weah are amendment of Section 2.19 on appointment of Executive Director, in which NEC is to select an executive director from the list of candidates submitted to it by the Civil Service Agency, amendment of Section 2.24(1) which states that “A Magistrate of Elections shall be directly responsible to the Board of Commissioners and shall serve as liaison between the Board of Commissioners and the County to which he/she is assigned in all matters regarding the execution and implementation of this law and regulations of the NEC, the administration and supervision of elections and all election activities within his/her County of assignment”.

Apart from these Sections, the Liberian Leader equally vetoed Amendments of Section 5.12(3)(a) and (3)(f) regarding Hearing and Determination of Complaints, amendment of Section 5.13(1) on Decisions on Complaints by the Commission, and amendment Chapter 6A(3)concerning Returns of Election.

President Weah observed that with about seven months away from the General Elections, certain changes in the Elections Law at a time so closed to the ECOWAS Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance six (6) months restriction would tend to send mix signals to the electorate and present the potential to cause delays in elections processes.

Apart from the specifically selected sections vetoed, President Weah has accordingly approved the other portions/sections in the Bill.

The Bill submitted to the President includes several important sections, including the requirement that a political party’s list of candidates to the` National Elections Commission (NEC) shall include no less than thirty percent (30%) candidates from each gender.

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