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118 candidates for 15 seats

-NEC announces

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Ahead of the December 08, 2020 Special Senatorial election, the National Elections Commission reveals it has received 118 aspirants vying for 15 senatorial seats across the country.

The aspirants include; 20 females, 98 males, 44 independent, 74 political parties and alliances and 17 members of the House of Representatives, respectively.

This is the first in contemporary history of Liberian election for a special senatorial poll to produce the highest number of incumbent members of the House of Representatives, seeking to go to the Liberian Senate.

Of the total 118 aspirants, Lofa County tops the list with 11 individuals followed by Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount counties with 10 aspirants each, closely chased by River Cess, Margibi, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh and Gbarpolu Counties, featuring nine aspirants each in the much publicized pending election.
Bong, Grand Bassa and Maryland Counties produced eight aspirants at piece, while Nimba County produced seven with Bomi County registering five, and River Gee and Sinoe Counties putting forth four aspirants each.

Statistics from the National Elections Commission indicates that many Liberians have taken interest in entering the senate. However, this paper has earmarked four counties that are likely to become fierce battle grounds namely; Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Maryland, and Bomi Counties, respectively.

Here in Montserrado, the senatorial seat is currently being occupied by opposition Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the Liberty Party, a constituent party of the Collaborating Political Parties headed by former presidential candidate, Mr. Alexander Cummings. The ruling Congress for Democratic Change of President George Manneh Weah had held a firm grip on the county since 2005, but lost one seat to Mr. Dillon last year in a by-election in a defeat the ruling Coalition is yet to recuperate from.

During the 2005, 2011 and 2017 general and presidential elections, the CDC topped all political parties that participated not until 2019 when the CPP candidate, Dillon overturned the table by winning over 50 percent of the votes, the highest ever in recent elections for Montserrado. Now the CDC is in a Coalition with the Liberia People Democratic Party and the National Patriotic Party to face Dillon again.

Following primaries conducted throughout Montserrado County recently, the ruling Coalition has put forward incumbent Montserrado Representative Thomas Fallah, currently enjoying his third term in the House of Representatives, as its candidate for the senate.

Fallah presides over the Ways, Means, Finance and Budget Committee of the House and is currently vice chairman for operations of the ruling party. There are reports that President Weah has instructed all officials of government to ensure Montserrado County is repossessed at all cost.

The CDC under the leadership of Chairman Mulbah Morlu, Chief Cyril Allen, Alex Tyler and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, is digging its heels deep into the ground to make a comeback. The political management team of the Coalition is leaving no stone unturned in the impending battle to retake the county in December ahead of the 2023 Presidential election.

But Sen. Dillon currently enjoys the support of the CPP which comprises four political parties: the Unity Party, the Liberty Party, the Alternative National Congress and the All Liberian Party.

The Senator, who has coded himself as the ‘light’ in the Liberian Senate, is seen here as someone who stands a greater chance of retaining the Montserrado seat. However, the ruling establishment is building up strategies to make him the shortest-serving senator at the Liberian Senate in recent history.

His popularity swelled when he publicly declared his salary, allowance and other benefits to the public, the first ever by any of the 30 senators on Capitol Hill. He also broke the news of senators receiving US$6,500 each as operational funds immediately after endorsing the State of Emergency declared by President Weah in April.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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