President Sirleaf Signs Electoral Threshold Bill into Law

Monday, 2nd August 2010

Members of the Press: 

As you may have followed during the course of the last few weeks, the Honorable National Legislature has been debating a very crucial issue cardinal to the holding of the 201l elections.  The Honorable Body last week adopted a Joint Resolution setting an Electoral Threshold for the conduct of the 2011 Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia.

I am pleased to inform you that the President, HE Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has signed into law the Joint Resolution, which has now been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be printed into hand bills.

The issue of setting the Electoral Threshold has dragged on for two long. It may not be the best document but certainly an instrument that can guide us toward an important exercise to sustain our democracy.  The National Elections Commission can now begin the process leading to the holding of successful elections next year.

The President calls on all citizens, especially those who may share different opinions on this compromise to look at the greater picture and lend their support for a smooth and transparent process.

Among other measures, the Joint Resolution states that the sixty-four (64) Electoral Districts set up and used by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the conduct of the 2005 Presidential and Legislative elections shall remain constant. But for the purpose of the 2011 Presidential and Legislative Elections, each county shall retain the existing number of seats it has in the House of Representatives, except the countries of Grand Bassa, Lofa, Margibi, Montserrado, Bong, and Nimba.  Accordingly, nine (9) additional electoral constituencies are hereby prescribed and established. The National Elections Commission (NEC) shall reapportion such additional constituencies herein prescribed to the counties specifically named in this Joint Resolution, based on a fraction of the percentage contribution of the current seats each of the counties herein named above to their total number of seats in the House of Representatives.

I wish to also inform you that Liberiaís ambassador to the United States of America, Mr. Nathanial Barnes, has been recalled by the President for consultation and possible reassignment.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has granted Executive Pardon to four elderly inmates currently being held at the National Palace of Corrections in Grand Gedeh County. The President has, accordingly, instructed the Ministry of Justice to release from further detention to individuals involved.  They are: Madam Esther Garduah, Julia Quiah, Amos Grear, and Esther Gaye. They were tried and convicted in 2007 of kidnapping by the seventh Judicial Circuit of Grand Gedeh County.

The Presidentís decision to pardon the elderly inmates is based on a recent appeal by the citizens of Grand Gedeh County during her visit to the County.

The President has instructed the Justice Ministry to examine a similar case in Nimba County under which a female Octogenarian is being held in detention.

I thank you.