NEC Releases 2023 Campaign Guidelines

MONROVIA: The process leading to the crucial October 10 2023 general elections entered a major stage with the publication of the campaign guidelines covering campaign period, activities, nomination of candidates, etc by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and stipulation of penalties for those who will violate against the guidelines.

According to the guidelines from the electoral body which was signed by the entire board of commissioners, copy of which was sent to The Analyst, NEC formulated the guidelines pursuant to the powers vested in it under section 2.9(h) of the New Elections Law to formulate guidelines consistent with the provisions of the 1986 constitution of Liberia and shall apply to political parties, alliances, coalitions and independent candidates. It also said the guidelines shall not be construed to limit additional requirements imposed by any provisions of the new elections law and/or relevant decisional law.

NEC said the campaign period for the 2023 general elections shall be from August 4, 2023 to October 8, 2023 and added that some of the activities which may be conducted before, during and after the official campaign period include Political party meetings; Political party membership drive; Establishment of political party offices; Political party fundraising activities; Use of a political party’s logos/emblem on its offices, vehicles, and other properties;

Other activities according to the guidelines include, Holding of political party national and local conventions/primaries and Petitioning/ Endorsement Ceremony and added that a person desiring to contest for public office is not a candidate for said office until that person has been certified as such by the commission, in responding to a petition to seek the nomination of one’s political party or to contest as an independent candidate, an aspirant is prohibited from engaging in any of the premature campaign activities and that Publicity made in preparation for the said process (erection of billboards, pictures, banners, posters, placards, and any other printed materials) shall be removed within 72 hours following the close of such event.

The guidelines also dwelled on campaign rallies and listed several activities that may go during the period which include but not limited to Holding a march, parade, or other assemblies for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or promoting an individual aspirant or candidate by way of speech, billboards, pictures, banners, posters, placards, or any other printed materials that tend to promote an individual aspirant or candidate for an elective public office;

Other campaign activities include Posters, handbills, and house-to-house contact with voters; Publishing or distributing campaign literature, posters, flyers, buttons, T-shirts, caps, or other promotional items designed to support the election of any aspirant/candidate for elective public office, Making contact with voters using print and electronic or social media or radio/TV interviews  Forming of an association ,or others for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or promoting an individual aspirant or candidate by way of speech, pictures, banners, posters or any other printed materials that tend to promote an individual aspirant or candidate for an elective public office;

Touching on campaign schedule, the guidelines also said a Party/Candidate shall notify the Commission, in writing (not later than 7 days to the commencement of its campaign activities), of its schedule of campaign stating the date, time, and venue. Not more than one Party/Candidate shall hold campaign events at the same venue and time. To avoid a possible conflict, all candidates appearing on the final listing of candidates are required to submit their campaign schedules to the Commission.

“Where there is conflict in the date, venue, or timing of the activities of opposing candidates/political parties, the Commission shall consider several factors, including the time a party/candidate’s schedule was received, in determining which party/candidate may be given preference.

“The Commission shall regulate all campaign schedules, giving all candidates the opportunity to launch and close their campaign activities peacefully.

“A Political campaign shall be free of violence, abusive language, or any form of hate speech”, the guidelines further said.

Any Political Party, Alliance, Coalition, or Independent Candidate found to have contravened these guidelines shall, in keeping with due process, be fined an amount not less than US$1,000.00 nor more than US$5,000.00, or their equivalent in Liberian Dollars, payable in the Government of Liberia revenue”, NEC stipulated as penalties for those who will default the guidelines.

The guidelines which is dated February 28, 2023 according to NEC will take effect immediately upon publication by the NEC in the print and electronic media including the website of NEC.

The Chairperson of NEC, Madam Davidetta Brown-Lassanah along with the rest of the board of commissioners including, Cllr. P. Teplah Reeves, Co-Chair, Cllr. Ernestine Morgan-Awar, Boakai Amadu Dukuly, Esq, Barsee Leo Kpangbai, Floyld Oxley Sayor and Madam Josephine Kou Gaye all signed the document. SEE PAGES 5, 6.7.8..9,10 & 11 OF THIS EDITION FOR THE FULL TEXT OF THE GUIDELINES.

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