Liberia: Demonstrations Loom Over 'Attempts' to Rig By-Election

-- 4 Political parties threatened

Due to the unprecedented postponement of Montserrado County two by-elections (senator and representative), as announced by authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC), the four collaborating opposition political parties have threatened to demonstrate amid alleged attempts on the part of NEC to rig the delayed by-elections in favor of the ruling party.

In a statement issued on July 11, 2019 the collaborating parties said: "As was demonstrated on June 7, 2019, when thousands of Liberians thronged Capitol Hill to show their disapproval for the way their country is being governed, any attempt to rig the Montserrado County by-elections, and any subsequent elections will provoke a similar reaction."

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), said they will settle for no outcomes shy of a free, fair, transparent and credible electoral contest that respects the verdict of the people of Montserrado County.

The four collaborating parties added: "Considering that during the launch of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) senatorial candidate, Paulita C. Wie, President George Weah in his campaign mood, vowed that, as long he is President, Abraham Darius Dillon and Telia Urey will never win any election, these maneuvers posed to Liberia's electoral process and system by the President cannot underrate dangers.

The parties believe that these maneuvers pose to Liberia's electoral process, and system by the president cannot underrate dangers.

The collaborating parties said they are aware that NEC Chair Jerome Korkoya's tenure is nearing expiration and, as such, it is possible to negotiate a condition for extension or renewal, which may not be far from skewing outcomes of the by-elections in favor of President Weah's preferred choices of candidates.

The parties alleged that in the wake of the "strange postponement" of the by-elections, the NEC Chair has been seen in the company of Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, whose jurisdiction has nothing to do with the work of the NEC.

Meanwhile, the parties have warned NEC to immediately desist from colluding with external political forces, "because the Commission is under the radar, and will suffer the consequences of their actions."

"We will do all we can to protect the votes of the people of Montserrado County," the parties said.

The leadership of the collaborating parties vowed never to allow NEC and external political forces to frustrate the electorate of Montserrado County, "as was experienced during the Sinoe County Senatorial by-election in 2018, when the outcome was skewed in favor of President Weah's anointed candidate."

The four parties said it is worrisome that the Sinoe malaise is being nurtured once again, "as strange maneuvers within the NEC continue to indicate."

They added, "Political parties have continued to express concerns about this continuous development, specifically considering that the time for the replacement of lost or damaged voter cards had long elapsed. This is unprecedented in recent election history, and it validates the growing fear that plans to rig the Montserrado votes might still be afloat."

The parties therefore called on the civil society, human rights community, members of the Liberia National Bar Association, the Press Union of Liberia, the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Commission, European Union, African Union, United Nations, the United States Government and Liberia's multilateral partners to take note of the concern, and to prevail on President Weah and NEC to abandon the "very expensive risk of tampering with the Montserrado County by-elections and future elections, as this will be a red herring scenario."

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