By Own Correspondent with support from New Dawn Newspaper-Liberia – The National Elections Commission (NEC) Tuesday launched a 150-day civic and voters’ awareness campaign ahead of the 2011 Constitutional Referendum and general polls.
NEC’s Chairman James Fromayan, 61, told journalists here Tuesday that the referendum will allow Liberians to cast their ballots for four strategic changes in the Constitution.The Chairman named the four provisions of the constitution, which need amendment as article 52(C) which proposes that the residency requirement for the presidency be reduced from ten years to five years prior to elections; and to amend article 83(A) which proposes that the current constitutional election date be changed from October to November and for Chiefs, City Mayors and Council Members.
The NEC’s boss stated that May 1 of this year, the campaign period for the referendum will start and during that time the stage will be ready for the different groups to canvass for or against the proposed changes to be decided in the referendum.
The referendum also seeks to amend article 72(C), which proposes that the Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of Subordinate Courts of Records serve for life except they shall be retired at the age of seventy five.
Mr. Fromayan said that the Commission is at a critical stage of the Referendum process. “At the moment the Commission with support from its partners, will go all out to brashly tell the story about the referendum in simple and clear ways to the Liberian electorates to forge a partnership that would ensure that Liberians fully participate in the process.”
He said NEC is embarking on a 150 day civic and voter’s education deliverable to reach out with the message about the referendum in the various vernaculars, simple Liberian English utilizing both electorates. “The launched of the civic and voters education for the referendum will take place simultaneously in the 19 magisterial offices across the country and it is part of an overarching public awareness campaign carved and fashioned in a pattern that would reach all of the people”, he added.
The NEC boss emphasized that these efforts will have the single endeavor to echo and saturate the landscape with information that come 23 August, 2011, Liberians will go to the polls to decide whether to accept or reject the changes that have been proposed by the legislature by a ‘yes or ‘no’ vote.“We look forward to an exciting time of peaceful exchange or interaction among various political actors”, he concluded.