Ongoing NEC Candidates Nomination & Registration: Low Women Participation Recorded

By: Laymah Kollie

Liberia-July 6,2023: Barely few days to the climax of Candidates Nomination and Registration Process for the 2023 general and presidential elections, statistics from the National Elections Commission (NEC) shows a low turn out of women aspirants for nomination.

The candidates nomination and registration process which began June 14,2023 and is expected to end on July 14,2023, has so far recorded sixty-four (64) female aspirants out of three hundred and ninety-four (394) total registrants; with the total number of three hundred and thirty (330) male aspirants in the process.

NEC candidate Registration data sheet shows that not a single female has registered for the Presidency either on a Political Party’s ticket or as Independent Candidate for the October 2023 Polls.

According to the statistics, of the sixty-four (64) female registrants, twelve (12) is aspiring for the House of Representatives on Independent tickets, with fourty-six (46) aspiring for House of Representatives on tickets of Political Parties, while four (4) is also aspiring for the Senate on political parties tickets and two (2) for the Vice Presidency.

NEC statistics also revealed that fifty-one (51) males are Independently aspiring for the House of Representatives and thirteen (13) for the Senate; While two hundred and thirty-four (234) are aspiring on political parties tickets for the House of Representatives, two (2) for the Presidency, twenty-nine (29) for the Liberian Senate and one (1) for the Vice Presidency.

Currently, women representation at the National Legislature is approximately 11% . There are nine(9) females Representatives of seventy-three (73) members in the House of Representatives and two(2) in the Senate out of thirty (30) Senators. The National Legislature currently holds only eleven female lawmakers out of one hundred and three (103) lawmakers in the first branch of government.

Women political participation has been a tackle for the emerging democracy of Liberia in ensuring equal voices at decision making tables.

There has been join efforts from Civil Society Actors, International and National Partners alongside Government continue to host dialogues, town hall meetings, and craft instruments that support women political participation.

On 4th April 2023, twenty-six (26) political parties signed on to the Farmington River Declaration to uphold peace and stability during the national elections; an instrument which also support women political participation. Provision four (4): Facilitate women’s equal participation and access to political activities and voting”.
Even though, the 30% Gender Quota Bill that support equal political participation of both male and female participation on Political Party’s candidates listing is yet to be passed into law, the National Elections Commission and twenty-five (25) registered political parties on May 11,2023 signed on to a 30% Gender Quota Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as a way of promoting female participation during these elections.

However, Gender activists are hopeful that more women aspiring for elective office will turn up for the nomination process before its closure. But there have been challenges relative to women aspiration to lead, ranging from finances, marginalization at political parties primaries, lack of support from families among others.

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