The New Dawn (Monrovia)

7 August 2014

Liberia: 'Election On Hold' - NEC Recommends

The National Elections Commission or NEC through its chairman has recommended the postponement of the October 14, 2014 Special Senatorial Election due to the Ebola Virus outbreak.

Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya told independent and political parties' candidates in Monrovia at the headquarters of NEC that the commission is finding it difficult to conduct election with the Ebola Virus.

Chairman Korkoya said the NEC may be unable to deploy staff in the field to conduct Civic/Voter Education as well as recruit and deploy 25,000 polling staff at polling centers in Liberia.

Chairman Korkoya said the Commission's recommendation is also based on the fact that the Ebola outbreak would hinder the smooth conduct of campaign activities by candidates who are desirous of contesting the October 14, 2014 Special Senatorial Election.

He said the health emergency in Liberia may affect the conduct of free, fair, transparent and credible election on October 14, of this year. According to the NEC boss, the situation of Ebola has created a serious setback for the conduct of the election.

Speaking in Monrovia at the headquarters of the commission in Sinkor, Kokorya explained that political campaigning activities will bring people together in huge number and as such, it put everyone at more risk. According to him, the Liberian Government through the National Ebola Task Force is also against the gathering of people in large number.

"We can't hold a free and fair election in the midst of this deadly Ebola virus and we are recommending to the national government that this be postponed, because election is not an event rather it's a process that require the basic measures to be put in place," NEC boss noted.

Commission Kokoya narrated that, the NEC has four hundred election supervisors and twenty five thousand poll workers that will be trained to work at various polling stations around the country.

"Most of the airlines are now suspending their flight to Liberia due to the deadly Ebola virus in the country and our ballot papers need be sent for printing, how we will do this in the midst of our country national emergence that we are face with," NEC boss explained.

The NEC begun holding a series of consultations with stakeholders in the electoral process on the probable impact of the Ebola outbreak on the October 14, 2014 Special Senatorial Election.

The first in the series of meetings was with civil society organizations on Tuesday, August 5 at the NEC Headquarters in Monrovia. More than 20 Civil Society Organizations involved with Electoral activities in Liberia under the banner of the Elections Coordination Committee attended the meeting.

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