16 May 2019

Liberia: Collaborating Parties Endorse Dillion, Urey in Pending By-Elections

The collaborating opposition political parties executives have endorsed Darius Dillon and Telia J. Urey (both center) for Montserrado Senate and District 15 seats, respectively.

The four collaborating opposition political parties have on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, endorsed Abraham Darius Dillion, Liberty Party vice-chair for political affairs, and Telia J. Urey, daughter of businessman Benoni Urey, to occupy the vacancies created by the deaths of Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and District #15 Representative Adolf A. Lawrence, respectively.

According to Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution, in the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) thereof. The Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such elections."

It is in this regard that the collaborating parties, including the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP), Unity Party (UP), and All Liberian Party (ALP), have endorsed the candidacies of two individuals.

ANC Chairman Senator Daniel F. Naatehn, who read the endorsement statement on behalf of the parties, said the parties chose to put aside their egos and come together as one to support a single candidate for each seat; the one that is well-placed in the upcoming two by-elections.

Sen. Naatehn added, "this endorsement is a demonstration of the collaborating parties' ongoing efforts to further enhance cooperation, confidence building, and mutual respect as a basis for the consolidation of our individual strength, and capacity into a common purpose of building and sustaining our collaborative relationship.

"We, therefore, reaffirm our commitment to using these by-elections scheduled for July 2, 2019, to propagate the essence of our collaboration, and therefore, call on all partisans, supporters and the Liberian people to support the collaborating candidates," he said.

For that decision, Mr. Dillion, who spoke on behalf of Ms. Urey and himself, expressed gratitude to the leadership of the collaborating parties for the trust and support to contest the July 2 by-elections, adding, "we are going to the legislature with open and transparent minds."

The collaborating parties endorsement of the two candidates came shortly after NEC issued the writs of elections for the conduct of the Montserrado County District #15 representative seat, as well as the county's senatorial by-election.

In a related development, Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah, on May 14, 2019 (Unification Day), officially joined the ANC to work together with the party's executives for a "better Liberia." He serves the district as an Independent member of the 54th Legislature.

Rep. Kolubah, who referred to himself as a founding member of the ANC, said after discovering that the party is the answer to the many challenges the country is now faced with, "it is time I return home."

Sen. Naatehn (R) presents membership form to Rep Kolubah on behalf of the party.

The controversial Rep. Kolubah said he refused to attend the Unification Day dialogue with President George Weah, "because I strongly believe that since the President has never achieved anything tangible with the opposition during previous meetings, he will never do so any at any future dialogue."

He said the planned June 7 "peaceful protest" cannot be avoided through dialogue.

"This is why we are going around the country to educate our people about the essence of the protest because the international community is carefully following the process," Kolubah said. "To tell the Liberian people we are serious about the protest, my children will be part of the protest on June 7," he declared to the deafening applause from the floor comprising mainly party supporters.

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