A bill that seeks to bar political parties that attain 5% of the votes cast in any elections from participation for eight years was yesterday submitted and endorsed by the Plenary of the Liberian Senate by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney G. N. Sherman.
In his communication, Senator Sherman said the act will resolve the headaches faced by voters in choosing their candidates. The draft Act which entitled “An Act Which Determines the Status of Political Parties, Political Organizations and Independent Candidates”, seeks to provide a remedy for problems for those political parties or candidates that will not attain a mere five per cent of votes in any elections from participating in election for a period of eight years. He pointed out that the multiplicity of political parties and independent candidates for elections in the country continues to plague and undermine the effectiveness of the democracy where more than 85% of the electorates are illiterate. According to him the high number of political and candidates in the country confused the electorate and makes it difficult for them to make informed choices, adding that it is one of things that is normally responsible for the high number of invalid votes in the elections. “In order to ensure that a one-party state shall never again be the political dispensation in Liberia and that individual citizens would have easy access to political offices, provisions were made in the 1986 Constitution and the Election laws for the easy, inexpensive and expeditions formation of political parties and qualification of independent candidates for election by simple majority,” he recalled. Giving an example on the 2017 elections, he explained that in the upcoming elections there are more than 25 registered political parties and more than 20 candidates for the presidency, while 1000 candidates contesting for 73 seats. “This high number of political parties and candidates also makes elections so expensive for the Liberia Government to the extent that important areas of election management, such as voter education and the administration and management of elections, are placed on the backburners for the national elections commission” he said. Meanwhile the draft act was received by the senate plenary and sent to the relevant committee to report that august body in a week.