legislative elections and even the date for the election remained uncertain

Legislative elections and even the date for the

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legislative elections, and even the date for the election - remained uncertain until just a few weeks before the elections themselves. A “completely fresh” new voter registration (VR) was carried out in January and February 2010 that registered a total of 1,798,259 voters, “representing according to NEC international advisors 89.1% of the Voting Age Population. The voter registration has been accepted by all electoral stakeholders and the public.” 7 A protracted struggle throughout 2010 between the legislature and executive over setting the threshold number for constituency demarcation caused significant delays in the NEC’s election planning and preparation for elections. Only in August 2010 was a compromise Resolution of both houses agreed to by the President which enabled the NEC used the Voter Register as the basis for reapportioning constituencies for the 9 new constituencies in the 6 biggest counties, which brought the total number of Electoral Districts for the House of Representatives in the country to 73. The Liberty Party challenged the threshold bill at the Supreme Court, gaining a temporary injunction that halted the process. The court authorized the NEC to proceed with demarcation on the basis of information contained in the voter registration list in June 2011 despite the requirement in Article 80 of the constitution that the census be used for this purpose. The August referendum asked four separate yes-no questions about changing: 1. Presidential candidate eligibility criteria (presence in the country from 10 years prior to elections to 5 consecutive years prior to elections); 2. the mandatory retirement age for Judges (from 70 to 75 years of age); 3. the majority rule used in legislative elections (from absolute majority to simple majority); and 4. the date for elections (moving from October to November). The NEC tabulated the results and found that no question had received the needed two-thirds vote for passage. One party, the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) led by former warlord and Nimba County senior Senator Prince Johnson, challenged the results of the referendum. NUDP argued that the NEC regulation that determined whether or not the referendum questions achieved the required two-thirds approval of voters was unlawful. The NEC had included invalid votes in the total number of votes cast when determining the denominator for calculations. On 20 September, the Supreme Court ruled that the invalid ballots should not have been included in the total votes cast. Although this ruling did not affect three of the provisions, it did result in the necessary two-thirds “yes” vote to amend the system of legislative voting to a simple majority (question 3). The NEC managed party registration, in a process which has not come under much criticism.
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