Liberia: By-Elections for July 29?

opinion

The National Elections Commission is considering July 29, 2019 as new date for the Montserrado County by-elections, according to news from the corridor of the NEC.

The New Dawn gathers that the new date was reached following a two hours' meeting between NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya and President George Manneh Weah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia Wednesday, 17 July.

The meeting also concluded on payment of the remaining US$1 million for vendors contracted by the National Elections Commission to provide materials.

The Commission had earlier budgeted US$2.5 million for the Montserrado County Senatorial By-Election and the District#15 Representative By-Election, respectively in the county, but the government provided an initial amount of US$1.5 million in both United States Dollars and Liberian Dollars.

The Liberian government through the NEC had postponed these by- elections twice due to delay in arrival of electoral materials and the June 07 protest which shock the country a month ago.

The Commission had earlier postponed the by-elections from 02 July to 08 July, 2019 due to delay in arrival of materials. On 04 July the Commission this time around indefinitely postponed the conduct of the polls, citing "technical and operational reasons."

"The National Elections Commission (NEC) informs the public that the Montserrado senatorial and district 15 Representative by-elections, which were scheduled for July 8, 2019, have been postponed to a later date, to be announced," the Commission said.

Notwithstanding, it disclosed that full consignment of 1,046,100 ballot papers are currently in the country. They include tactile ballot guides, forms and record of the counts. Of the total ballot papers, the NEC says 993,850 will be used for the senatorial by- elections, while 52,250 will be used for the representative by-election.

However, when contacted via mobile phone on the latest date, Chairman Korkoya could neither deny nor confirm, but explains there are expected consultations with the Liberian Legislature, candidates, political parties and stakeholders before any official pronouncement is made about the date for the by-elections.

He says the Commission is also expecting arrival of the remaining electoral materials into the country soon.

Chairman Korkoya assures that a new date for the polls would not be kept secret, but there are ongoing consultations with actors and the NEC remains committed, transparent and accountable to the Liberian people in conducting free, fair and credible elections at all times.

The Montserrado County Senatorial By-Election came about as a result of the death of Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif following a protracted illness from womb cancer and the passing of District #15 Representative Adolph Lawrence in a car crash along the Robertsfield highway en route to Monrovia from Buchanan, Grand Bassa County where he had celebrated his 50th birthday with his now widow, Senator Yonblee Kangar Lawrence.

The NEC has qualified seven candidates for the senatorial seat including, Pualita Wie of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, Abraham Darious Dillon of the four collaborating opposition political parties, MacDella Cooper, Massa Massaquoi Kanyon, Kimmie Weeks, and incumbent Montserrado County Electoral District #6 Representative Samuel Enders, all independent candidates and Mohammed Ayouba Dukuly of the Vision for Liberia Transformation Party. But from all indications, the main contenders are Mr. Dillon and Ms. Wie.

In Montserrado County Electoral District #15, the race is between Abu Kamara of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and Tellia Urey of the four collaborating opposition political parties.By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne

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