The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has to agreed reduce elections nomination registration fees that came under harsh criticism from political parties last month. At a meeting at the Office of the President between NEC boss Christiana Thorpe and the Political Parties Registration Commission it was agreed that nomination fees will be reduced to their 2007 levels while the government will pay the difference to NEC.
After NEC demanded that all political parties pay fees as high as 100 million to register presidential candidates the United National Peoples Party (UNPP) and the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) had announced a boycott of the registration process. All registered political parties (except the All People’s Congress) in Sierra Leone had signed a joint release criticizing NEC. They argued that the high registrations fees would reduce the participation of women, youth, and others who they considered to be facing financial difficulties.
The agreement was reached after a meeting with President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at State House organised by the Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission Hon Justice E.M. Tholla Thompson. Thompson brought together the leaders of the ten registered Political Parties in Sierra Leone, Commissioners and Staff of PPRC, the Acting Speaker of Parliament, the Clerk of Parliament and the Chairperson of NEC.
Addressing the meeting, President Koroma said that his government will subsidize the fees so that everyone participate in the 2012 elections and for peace and the furtherance of democracy in Sierra Leone.
In her statement, the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission, Dr, Christiana Thorpe informed leaders of Political Parties that the nomination process will continue on Friday 14th September 2012.