In line with constitutional provisions, legislators on Capitol Hill, specifically members of the House are expected to inform the National Elections Commission within 30 days about a vacant seat in Montserrado County electoral district#13 as a result of the apparent election of Coalition for Democratic Change lawmaker Representative Saah Joseph as Senator for Montserrado, Liberia’s most populated county of 1,118,241 residents.
Chapter Four, Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia states: “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, 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.”
The National Elections Commission is expected to announce final results of Tuesday, 31st July senatorial by-election in Montserrado County tomorrow, Friday, August 3rd.
The NEC has formally declared Independent Candidate, Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa, winner of the senatorial by-election conducted in Bong County after final tallying of total votes cast put him at 27,806 votes or 47.8 perecnt, ahead of rival incumbent Rep. Josiah Marvin Cole with 20,982 total votes.
The Government of Liberia spent over US$2 Million besides partners’ support on the senatorial by-elections held in Montserrado County, accosting NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya.
The elections were delayed, breaching constitutional timetable due to funding challenges.If members of the House formally informed the NEC about the impending by-election for Montserrado electoral district#13, the government already facing serious financial constraints, would have to again go out, scouting for money to fund such process, which will bring to three by-elections the Weah-led administration shall have conducted in less than a year.
Chairman Korkoya says the ruling CDC candidate Rep. Saah Joseph remains in the lead, with an updated vote of 37,141 which amount to 55.2 percent of the total votes counted so far in Montserrado.
The Montserrado and Bounty Counties senatorial seats were left vacant when President George Manneh Weah and Vice President Taylor’s CDC ticket won a presidential runoff in December 2017.
The ruling party fought to maintain the two seats, amid public criticism, featuring two sitting representatives for Mr. Weah and Madam Taylor’s replacement.If Mr. Joseph is finally declared winner of the Montserrado polls, another by – election will be conducted in the district he was initially elected last year for a six – year mandate, the same number of years he will serve in the Senate.
Rep. Joseph is being chased by Independent Candidate Bernard Benson (alias DJ Blue) who has obtained 20.9 percent of votes counted here.Mr. Benson is also followed by former ruling Unity Party (UP) candidate Josephine George Francis who has collected 5,978 votes or 8.9 percent.
Cllr. Korkoya says for Montserrado County, the Commission has counted and tallied 52.91 percent votes casted during Tuesday’s election. He maintains that the NEC has not received any complaint regarding the July 31 Senatorial By-elections.
“I wish to remind all parties that complaints regarding polling/counting or tallying irregularities should be filed with the NEC Magistrate Offices in Bong and Montserrado Counties,” he says.
The NEC Chair has congratulated all registered voters that turned out to vote in the Senatorial By-elections conducted in Bong and Montserrado Counties for their patriotism and good deportment exhibited during the elections.
He has also expressed heartfelt thanks to all field staff including poll workers, many of whom spent sleepless hours in ensuring that the elections succeeded.“Special thanks and appreciation go to the leadership and officers of the joint security forces for helping to provide the enabling environment for the successful conduct of the Senatorial By-elections,” he adds.
He has further appreciated international partners, observer groups and the media for their roles and involvement throughout the process.Cllr. Korkoya reports that the electoral process has been successfully implemented as planned, noting that polls opened in most places on time and the counting of votes has progressed much faster.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley