Elections For Transitional Leaders In Sight

By Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
Accra, Ghana

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 18, 2003

West African and Western mediators seeking a political settlement to the Liberian imbroglio have released what appears to be a final draft of the comprehensive peace agreement and guidelines for the elections of a transitional administration to replace the current government.

The latest development follows days of cataclysmic bloodbath in the capital, Monrovia and the second largest port city of Buchanan that left a devastating toll on the civilian population with an unacceptable human catastrophe.

Elections for an all-inclusive transitional government are expected to be held in Accra immediately after the signing of the comprehensive peace deal scheduled at an unspecified date.

The elections are scheduled to be held simultaneously for the positions of Chairman and Vice Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL). They will be supervised and conducted by an election committee (mediator’s committee) to be established by ECOWAS.

Acccording to the guidelines, a total of 30 delegates are expected to vote during the process. The 30 eligible voters will be drawn from the warring parties and the 18 registered Liberian political parties.

The Government and the two rebel groups, LURD and MODEL, will have four votes each while the 18 political parties will have one vote each.

Nominees for the positions of transitional chairman and vice chairman must obtain a minimum of 60 percent votes from the registered voters in order to be elected.

At the same time, a 61-member unicameral National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) is expected to be constituted. The NTLA should reflect the broad spectrum of the Liberian society. Selection of members of the Assembly is expected to be carried out in Monrovia and shall be subject to internal consultations amongst the different entities.

Accordingly, contenders to the armed conflict, the Government, LURD and MODEL have been allotted seven seats each while each of the political parties has also been allotted 1 seat. Fifteen seats have been earmarked for the 15 counties with seven seats going to the civil society and special interest groups.

Additionally, the controversial positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker are exclusively set aside for political parties and civil society and are to be occupied by 60 percent votes each from the Assembly.

Accordingly, the comprehensive deal maintained that the chairmanship and vice chairmanship positions of the NTGL are to be occupied by political parties and civil society.

Under the NTGL, the structure of the judicial remains the same and all new appointments are to be made by the chairman of the NTGL and approved by the NTLA. Nominations for such judicial appointments will be based on a shortlist of candidates for each position recommended by the National Bar Association including the Female lawyers association of Liberia.