Eyeing Opportunity: Lawmaker Wants Diaspora Liberians Vote In 2011 elections


Moses Varfee Kowo

Source: FrontPage Africa




Monrovia –

Lofa County Lawmaker, Eugene Fallah Kparkar, has submitted a draft Legislation seeking legal permission for Liberians legally living in other countries to vote in elections in their country.

Kparkar told journalists after the Act was sent to the Committees on Elections, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary that he hope his colleagues will see the proposal in a positive way and to continue the disenfranchisement of Liberians who are living in other countries legally.

Fallah Kparkar says all Liberians legally living in different countries should have the opportunity to vote in their embassies accredited near that country’s capital and that the National Elections Commission shall conduct voter registration for these Liberians at their embassies .

Drafters of the Act quotes article 5.1 of the New Electoral Reform Law of 2004 as their reliance which states: “ Except one who has been judicially declared to be incompetent or of unsound mind, or who has been barred from voting as a result of his/her conviction or imprisonment for an infamous crime which disenfranchises him as a voter and has not been restored to full citizenship, a Liberian citizen who has attained the age of 18 or above and a valid registration card may vote at any election in the voting precinct of the electoral district for which he/she is registered.”

Fallah Kparkar said all Liberians legally living in different countries should have the opportunity to vote in their embassies accredited near that country’s capital and that the National Elections Commission shall conduct voter registration for these Liberians at their embassies .

His remarks were clearly spelt out in section 5.2 of his proposed Act: “where to vote: a Liberian citizen who has attained the age of 18 years or above with a valid registration card shall vote only in the voting precinct in the electoral district for which he/she is registered”

“(B) A Liberian citizen in the Diaspora who has attained the age of 18 years or above with a valid registration card shall vote only in the Liberian Embassy of the country in which the voter resides and have gone through the registration process conducted by NEC in the same embassy.”

But some lawmakers are concern that Liberia might be lacking the technical capacity to conduct elections outside its borders at this time; but others also count on a recent successful process in Liberia in which Guineans residing in Liberia voted in their national elections.

The new recommendation is expected to raise new debate in the Legislature as some Liberians might struggle to define ‘what is the legal definition of people that are living in other parts of the world’.

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