CHAPTER VIII: POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTIONS

Article 77
a) Since the essence of democracy is free competition of ideas expressed by political parties and
political groups as well as by individuals, parties may freely be established to advocate the
political opinions of the people. Laws, regulations, decrees or measures which might have the
effect of creating a one-party state shall be declared unconstitutional.
b) All elections shall be by secret ballot as may be determined by the Elections Commission, and
every Liberian citizen not less than 18 years of age, shall have the right to be registered as a
voter and to vote in public elections and referenda under this Constitution. The Legislature shall
enact laws indicating the category of Liberians who shall not form or become members of political
parties.

Article 78
As used in this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, an “association” means a body of
persons, corporate or other, which acts together for a common purpose, and includes a group of
people organized for any ethnic, social, cultural, occupational or religious objectives; a “political
party” shall be an association with a membership of not less than five hundred qualified voters in
each of at least six counties, whose activities include canvassing for votes on any public issue or
in support of a candidate for elective public office; and an “independent candidate” shall be a
person seeking electoral post or office with or without his own organization, acting independently
of a political party.

Article 79
No association, by whatever name called, shall function as a political party, nor shall any citizen
be an independent candidate for election to public office, unless:

a) the association or independent candidate and his organization meet the minimum registration
requirements laid down by the Elections Commission and are registered with it. Registration
requirements shall include filing with the Elections Commission a copy of the constitution of the
association and guidelines of the independent candidate and his organization, a detailed
statement of the names and addresses of the association and its officers or of the independent
candidate and the officers of his organization, and fulfillment of the provision of sub-sections (b),
(c), (d) and (e) hereof. Registration by the Elections Commission of any association or
independent candidate and his organization shall vest in the entity or candidate and his
organization so registered legal personality, with the capacity to own property, real, personal or
mixed, to sue and be sued and to hold accounts. A denial of registration or failure by the
Elections Commission to register any applicant may be challenged by the applicant in the
Supreme Court;

b) the membership of the association or the independent candidate’s organization is open to
every citizen of Liberia, irrespective of sex, religion or ethnic background, except as otherwise
provided in this Constitution.

c) the headquarters of the association or independent candidate and his organization is situated:
(i) in the capital of the Republic where an association is involved or where an independent
candidate seeks election to the office of President or Vice–President;
(ii) in the headquarters of the county where an independent candidate seeks election as a
Senator; and
(iii) in the electoral center in the constituency where the candidate seeks election as a member of
the House of Representatives or to any other public office;

d) the name, objective, emblem or motto of the association or of the independent candidate and
his organization is free from any religious connotations or divisive ethnic implications and that the
activities of the association or independent candidate are not limited to a special group or, in the
case of an association, limited to a particular geographic area of Liberia;
e) the constitution and rules of the political party shall conform to the provisions of this
Constitution, provide for the democratic elections of officers and/or governing body at least once
every six years, and ensure the election of officers from as many of the regions and ethnic
groupings in the country as possible. All amendments to the Constitution or rules of a political
party shall be registered with the Elections Commission no later than ten days from the effective
dates of such amendments.

Article 80
a) Parties or organizations which, by reason of their aims or the behavior of their adherents, seek
to impair or abolish the free democratic society of Liberia or to endanger the existence of the
Republic shall be denied registration.
b) Parties or organization which retain, organize, train or equip any person or group of persons for
the use or display of physical force or coercion in promoting any political objective or interest,
trained or equipped, shall be denied registration, or if registered, shall have their registration
revoked.
c) Every Liberian citizen shall have the right to be registered in a constituency, and to vote in
public elections only in the constituency where registered, either in person or by absentee ballot;
provided that such citizen shall have the right to change his voting constituency as may be
prescribed by the Legislature.
d) Each constituency shall have an approximately equal population of 20,000, or such number of
citizens as the legislature shall prescribe in keeping with population growth and movements as
revealed by a national census; provided that the total number of electoral constituencies in the
Republic shall not exceed one hundred.
e) Immediately following a national census and before the next election, the Elections
Commission shall reapportion the constituencies in accordance with the new population figures
so that every constituency shall have as close to the same population as possible; provided,
however, that a constituency must be solely within a county.

Article 81
Any citizen, political party, organization, or association, being resident in Liberia, of Liberian
nationality or origin and not otherwise disqualified under the provisions of this Constitution and
laws of the land, shall have the right to canvass for the votes for any political party or candidate at
any election, provided that corporate and business organizations and labor unions are excluded
from so canvassing directly or indirectly in whatsoever form.

Article 82
a) Any citizen or citizens, political party association or organization, being of Liberian nationality
or origin, shall have the right to contribute to the funds or election expenses of any political party
or candidate; provided that corporate and business organizations and labor unions shall be
excluded from making and contribution to the funds or expenses of any political party. The
Legislature shall by law prescribe the guidelines under which such contributions may be made
and the maximum amount which may be contributed.

b) No political party or organization may hold or possess any funds or other assets outside of
Liberia; nor may they or any independent candidates retain any funds or assets remitted or sent
to them from outside Liberia unless remitted or sent by Liberian citizens residing abroad. Any
funds or other assets received directly or indirectly in contravention of this restriction shall be paid
over or transferred to the Elections Commission within twenty-one days of receipt. Information on
all funds received from abroad shall be filed promptly with the Elections Commission.

c) The Elections Commission shall have the power to examine into and order certified audits of
the financial transactions of political parties and independent candidates and their organizations.
The Commission shall prescribe the kinds of records to be kept and the manner in which they
shall be conducted by a certified chartered public accountant, not a member of any political party.

Article 83
a) Voting for the President, Vice–President, members of the Senate and members of the House
of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in
October of each election year.

b) All elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If
no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on
the second Tuesday following. The two candidates who received the greatest numbers of votes
on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the run-off election.

c) The returns of the elections shall be declared by the Elections Commission not later than
fifteen days after the casting of ballots. Any party or candidate who complains about the manner
in which the elections were conducted or who challenges the results thereof shall have the right
to file a complaint with the Elections Commission. Such complaint must be filed not later than
seven days after the announcement of the results of the elections.
The Elections Commission shall, within thirty days of receipt of the complaint, conduct an
impartial investigation and render a decision which may involve a dismissal of the complaint or a
nullification of the election of a candidate. Any political party or independent candidate affected by
such decision shall not later than seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court.
The Elections Commission shall within seven days of receipt of the notice of appeal, forward all
the records in the case to the Supreme Court, which not later than seven days thereafter, shall
hear and make its determination. If the Supreme Court nullifies or sustains the nullification of the
election of any candidate, for whatever reasons, the Elections commission shall within sixty days
of the decision of the Court conduct new elections to fill the vacancy. If the court sustains the
election of a candidate, the Elections Commission shall act to effectuate the mandate of the
Court.

d) Every political party shall, on September 1 of each year, and every candidate of such political
party and every independent candidate shall, not later than thirty days prior to the holding of an
election in which he is a candidate, publish and submit to the Elections Commission detailed
statements of assets and liabilities. These shall include the enumeration of sources of funds and
other assets, plus lists of expenditures. Where the filing of such statements is made in an election
year, every political party and independent candidate shall be required to file with the Elections
Commissions additional detailed supplementary statements of all funds received and
expenditures made by them from the date of filing of the original statements to the date of the
elections. Any political party or independent candidate who ceases to function shall publish and
submit a final financial statement to the Elections Commission.

Article 84
The Legislature shall by law provide penalties for any violations of the relevant provisions of this
Chapter, and shall enact laws and regulations in furtherance thereof not later than 1986; provided
that such penalties, laws or regulations shall not be inconsistent with any provisions of this
Constitution.

Next>>>Chapters IX, X, XI, XII

Leave a Reply