The National Elections Commission or NEC has released the final list of candidates for the 2014 Special Senatorial Election, which is expected to take place later at a rescheduled date to be announced after the date required under the constitution was suspended.
The final list of candidates, which totaled 139 persons have been qualified to contest the Special Senatorial Election. The list shows that ten candidates have been qualified to contest the election in Bomi County, while Bong has 13 candidates.
The list of candidates also shows that Gbapolu County has Seven candidates, Grand Bassa has Five, Grand Cape Mount eleven while Grand Gedeh eleven persons have been, Grand Kru Seven Candidates, Lofa has nine candidates, Margibi County 13 candidates.
According to the list, Maryland County has Eight Candidates, Montserrado eleven, Nimba six, River Gee has nine candidates, River Cess has Twelve Candidates and Sinoe County has a total of Seven Candidates. The list further shows that a total of Twenty-six Independent candidates will contest the Special Senatorial Election.
Six Counties (Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, Maryland, Nimba, River Gee and river Cess) have one independent candidate each while Six Counties ( Sinoe, Lofa, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties) have two independents each; Bomi has three independents while Montserradohas Five Independents. Gbapolu County has no independent Candidate.
The list of candidates also shows that there are twenty female candidates in the senatorial Race. Nimba, Lofa, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh and Bong Counties have 1 female candidate each while Margibi, Cape Mount and Gbapolu Counties have two female candidates each. Bomi, Montserrado and River Cess Counties have Three Female candidates each. There are no female candidates in Grand Bassa, Maryland, River Gee and Sinoe Counties.
Meanwhile, registered political Parties, Independent candidates, youths and student groups have consented to a suggestion that the Special Senatorial Election be held on December 16, 2014. The suggested date was recommended by the National Elections Commission at separate meetings held with them on Friday at the headquarters of the Commission (NEC) in Monrovia.
The political parties, candidates, youths and student groups have also recommended flexibility in conducting the Special Senatorial Election in the event there is an upsurge in the Ebola situation during the period up to December 20, 2014. The stakeholders recommended that should this occur, the election should be conducted in counties that report lower risks of Ebola and that election in those counties still reporting high infection levels of the virus be suspended.
Under this condition, partial election will ensure there is quorum in the Senate to conduct normal business, while the legal framework would be adopted to conduct election in the affected counties as the Ebola case level reduces. At the same time, members of the Press Union of Liberia have expressed mixed views on the conduct of the election on the suggested date of December 16, 2014.
Some members of the Press Union believe that a national conference should be held to discuss whether or not to hold the Special Senatorial Election while tackling the Ebola Virus disease. Other members suggested the election be held with safety measures put in place, while others argued there should be no election until the Ebola Virus is eradicated.
The consultations are aimed at finding a suitable date for the holding of the Special Senatorial Election in the wake of a Joint Resolution recently adopted by the National Legislature and to seek flexibility for the Special Election to be conducted in counties where the prevalence of Ebola is minimum. The Joint Resolution adopted by the Legislature on October 10, 2014 mandates the National Elections Commission to conduct the Special Senatorial Election no later than December 20 this year.