Heritage (Monrovia)

30 July 2014

Liberia: NEC - No Plan to Change Election Date

Authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) through their Communications Director, Mr. Joey Kennedy, say the NEC remains resolute to conduct the Special Senatorial Election as scheduled.

The NEC is the body responsible for the conduct of all electoral activities in the country.

The 2014 Special Election is scheduled for October 14, 2014. It is in keeping with the Liberian Constitution, which is regarded as the organic law of the country.

Already, the election is gaining momentum, with those senators who are seeking re-election and other Liberians who are desirous of contesting, making known their intentions, their dreams and aspirations to the Liberian people via the media.

According to Mr. Kennedy, there is no plan to postpone the election, emphasizing that the election date still remains as scheduled.

Mr. Kennedy was speaking Tuesday in an exclusive interview with the Heritage via mobile phone.

Asked whether the Commission has been approached over the postponement of the process, he answered in the negative.

"There is no decision to that effect yet. In fact, the Commission has not received any request regarding the postponement, and so as we stand, the election date still remains the same," added the Commission's Spokesman.

The interview was triggered by mounting concerns from the public, including politicians for the postponement of the election due to the Ebola epidemic, which has claimed several lives.

Those calling for the postponement of the election want money intended for the conduct of the election to be used to fight the disease.

They argue that it would not be prudent to conduct a major election, amidst the outbreak of a deadly disease such as Ebola.

The virus has killed at least 129 people here, and claimed more than 670 lives across the region.

A top Liberian doctor working at Liberia's largest hospital died on Saturday, and two American aid workers have fallen ill, underscoring the dangers facing those charged with bringing the outbreak under control.

Also last week, an official of the Ministry of Finance identified as Patrick Sawyer died of the disease at a Lagos hospital.

As a means of containing further spread of the disease, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf set up a taskforce to help in the fight of the disease and ordered the closure of the country's three land borders.

The Liberian leader also ordered that public gatherings be restricted and communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak be quarantined.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Monday of this week released a provisional listing of 141 aspirants for the ensuing election.

A provisional list of applicants published by the Commission shows that 18 political parties are fielding 115 contenders, while 25 of the aspirants are independent.

The 140 aspirants include: 12 sitting senior senators fighting to retain their seats.

Three sitting senior senators including Cletus Wotorson of Grand Kru County, Isaac Nyenabo of Grand Gedeh County and Frederick Doe Cherue of River Gee County are not seeking re-election.

Bomi County has a total of ten aspirants for the one vacancy, including eight from political parties and two independents.

There are 13 aspirants for the one vacancy in Bong County, including 11 from political parties and two independents.

Gbarpolu has seven candidates, all representing political parties, while Grand Bassa County registered five candidates, with three contesting on party tickets and two as independent candidates.

Grand Cape Mount County has eleven candidates with ten contesting on political party tickets and one as an independent candidate.

For the one vacancy in Grand Gedeh County, 11 aspirants have registered, including nine contesting on political party tickets and two as independent candidates.

Grand Kru County has seven registered candidates with five representing political parties, and two independent candidates, while Lofa County has nine candidates, with seven running on political party tickets and two as independent candidates.

Margibi County registered 13 candidates with 12 representing political parties and one contesting as an independent candidate, while Maryland County has nine candidates, eight representing political parties, and one contesting as independent candidate.

The most populous counties, Montserrado and Nimba, have 11 and six candidates respectively, with six in Montserrado contesting on political party tickers and five as independent candidates, while five candidates in Nimba are contesting on political party tickets and one as an independent.

River Gee has nine candidates, eight representing political parties and one contesting as an independent candidate, while Rivercess is fielding 12 candidates, 11 representing political parties and one contesting as an independent candidate.

Seven persons are contesting for the senatorial post in Sinoe County, with five representing political parties and two contesting the poll as independent candidates.

The list has to be scrutinized by citizens to determine whether or not any of the candidates is not eligible to contest the poll.

All winners of the Special Senatorial Election will serve a nine-year term expiring in 2023.

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