Gbarnga, Bong County – The National Elections Commission has a herculean task of conducting Liberia’s crucial 2017 general and presidential elections with observers calling on the commission to exercise high level of fairness in all aspects of handling the process.
Mitigating disputes coming out of the 2017 elections will also be significant to avoiding post elections disputes.
Recent elections in Liberia have not been free of grievances and NEC’s ability to handle disputes has often come into questioning.
But it now appears that the commission is preparing to avoid missteps in 2017 by holding several trainings for its staff and other stakeholders in the country.
With support from some of its main partners, European Union and UNDP Election Project, the commission commenced a two-week workshop for 19 Elections Magistrates focusing on elections complaints resolution mechanism.
The training, ongoing in Gbarnga, Bong County, begun Monday, 17th October to and will continue until Friday, 28th October, 2016.
The workshop is being held in 2 phases by 10 and 9 Magistrates respectively.
The sessions are geared at training the Magistrates to build their capacity for effective hearing of complaints that would evolve following the upcoming Presidential and Legislative elections in 2017.
In 2016, the NEC adopted Hearing Procedures and Complaint Regulations which spell out the stages of the election complaint adjudication process.
The training is being facilitated by the NEC Hearing and Legal Sections and the European Union and UNDP Election Project Legal Consultant.
It can be recalled that a fortnight ago, similar workshops were held for civil society, political parties, and members of the Liberia National Bar Association and senior staff of the NEC.
The four-day electoral dispute resolution workshop drilled stakeholders in the various phases of the electoral dispute resolution process.
The workshop with the stakeholders focused on types of electoral complaints, how to file a complaint; initial reaction of NEC to complaint, who adjudicates complaints, complaints hearing process, remedies and appealing.