Liberia: House of Representatives Informs National Elections Commission of Four Vacancies

Monrovia — The National Elections Commission, (NEC) says it has received a notification from the Honorable House of Representatives informing them of four vacancies in the 54th National Legislature.

A NEC statement quotes, a communication from the House of Representatives as saying, the vacancies exists following the election and succeeding certification of Representative Jeremiah Koung of Electoral District Number One, as Senator of Nimba County, and three others during the 8 December 2020 Special Senatorial Elections.

The Nimba County notification from the House of Representatives brings to four the numbers of vacancies within the 54th National Legislature. The others are from Bong, Bomi, and Grand Gedeh Counties.

The House's communication to the NEC dated Wednesday, 21 April 2021, says the letter is in consonance with Article 37 of the Liberian Constitution to notify the Commission of the vacancy of the position of a Representative.

The notification from the House of Representatives, singed by its Chief Clerk, Mildred N. Sayon requests the NEC to work out the necessary modalities and mechanisms for the holding of a By-Election to fill the vacancy created by the election of Representative Jeremiah Koung as Senator of Nimba County.

Article 37 of the Liberian Constitution says, "In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, and expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof.

The Elections 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 general elections".

This process comes at an extra cost to the government of Liberia. This paper has not been able to confirm whether or not funds for these elections are available but it appears that this process may delay beyond constitutional time because of the challenge of funding them.

The Country witnessed similar situation in the just ended December 8, 2020 special senatorial elections. Due to challenges faced by the government the NEC was made to slice it budget of USD$ 27 Million for Elections and Referendum to little over US$13 million.

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