BACKGROUND OF THE PPRC
Noting the recent violent past of Sierra Leone, and the need for continued peace; and given the desirability for a free, fair, peaceful and well-regulated election and the avoidance of political discord, as provided for by the Political Parties Act, 2002, which establishes the PPRC for the registration and regulation of the conduct of political parties in accordance with sections 34 and 35 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
The institutional mandate and independence of the Political Parties Registration Commission are enshrined in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. The Political Parties Act, 2002, establishes the PPRC for the registration and supervision of the conduct of political parties in accordance with Sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution.In conformity with the Political Parties Act - 2002, the Commission in collaboration with registered political parties and civil society established a Code Monitoring Committee to function as a forum for discussion of issues of common concern, including breaches of the Code before, during and after the elections.
From around the mid-1980s there has been greater interest in, and scrutiny of, the conduct of democratic elections. There has also been an unprecedented commitment around the world to electoral reform.
Public interest has been more often focused on reforming electoral systems to enhance representation. Reforms to the machinery for organizing and administering electoral events are, however, equally important.
These include a trend towards the establishment of autonomous electoral management bodies (EMBs) with wide-ranging powers and responsibilities, and the improvement of electoral organization so as to deliver higher-quality electoral services more effectively while concurrently enhancing the freeness, fairness and credibility of electoral events, especially in developing democracies.
Elections are complex and specialized processes which are most efficiently managed by a body or bodies with specific electoral management responsibilities. The term “electoral management body” or EMB has been coined as a name to refer to the body or bodies founded for the sole purpose of managing some or all of the essential elements of electoral management, which include:
- a. determining who is eligible to vote;
- b. receiving and validating the nominations of electoral participants;
- c. conducting polling;
- d. counting the votes; and
- e. tabulating the votes.
In addition to these essential elements, an EMB may undertake other tasks which assist the conduct of elections and direct democracy instruments.
An EMB may be a stand-alone institution, or a distinct management unit within a larger institution which may also have non-electoral tasks.
Essential and other electoral tasks may be conducted by a single body, or be allocated to multiple bodies. Electoral responsibilities may also be divided between different bodies at the national and regional levels.
Three Models of Electoral Management
There are three broad models or types of electoral management:
- • Independent Model;
- • Governmental Model; and
- • Mixed Model.
The Independent Model of electoral managementexists in those countries where elections are organized and managed by an EMB which is institutionally independent and autonomous from the executive branch of government, and which has and manages its own budget. An
Independent Model EMB is not accountable to a government ministry or department. It may, however, be accountable to the legislature, the judiciary, or the head of state.
The Governmental Model of electoral managementexists in those countries where elections are organized and managed by the executive branch through a ministry, such as the Ministry of the Interior, and/ or through local authorities. These EMBs operate under the executive branch at national level and are answerable to a Cabinet minister.
The Mixed Model of electoral managementhas dual structures, with a policy, monitoring or supervisory component EMB that is independent of the executive branch of government (as for the Independent Model) and an implementation component EMB that is located within a department of state and/or local government (as for the Governmental Model). The relationship between component EMBs is not always clearly defined in legislation or correctly interpreted by stakeholders.