The National Elections Commission or NEC has announced in Monrovia that political activities for the long-awaited Special Senatorial Election are expected to commence this week, with political campaigning on Thursday, November 20, 2014.
Speaking at a news conference in Monrovia on Monday, the Chairman of the Commission, Cllr. Jerome George Kokorya said: “in keeping with the revised timetable for the 2014 Special Senatorial Election, the commission is pleased to announce that political campaign will commence on Thursday, November 20, 2014 and end 24 hours before polling day.”
Chairman Kokorya used the time to call on all candidates and their supporters to go about their campaign activities in a peaceful manner, adding that the campaign period should be used to market ideology and plans for advancements in the county in particular and Liberia in general.
“Please avoid rancor and bitter exchanges. Show respect for each other as you go about your campaign activities. Also, the commission admonishes all candidates and their supporters to observe all public health regulations instituted by the Liberian Government and health authorities to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease during the course of the campaign,” the chairman said.
He noted that the commission has supplemented the campaign guidelines to ensure compliance with the national health regulations. The transportation of large groups of electorates by candidates clustered in vehicles and congregation of the huge number of people will be regulated. Chairman Kokorya also announced that there are 139 candidates certified to contest the 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
Earlier, the commission published a provisional list of 140 candidates to contest the election, but one of the candidates, Mr. Ali Sylla of the ruling Unity Party on the provisional withdrew his candidature prior to the publication of the final.
Chairman Kokorya used the time to also announce that the commission, with support from the International Foundation for Electoral System or IFES and the United Nations Development for Program or UNDP, 400 civic educators and seven civil society organizations have been recruited for deployment in the 73 electoral districts to carry out community outreach, including door-to-door and face-to-face campaign for the election.
According to him, considering the relevance of gender mainstreaming in the electoral process, 30 women’s groups will be deployed in the 15 counties to carry out gender sensitive awareness.
“To facilitate an effective and robust civic education campaign, several educational and awareness materials have been produced for distribution. These include posters, flyers, T-shirts, caps, bumper stickers and banners,’ the Chairman noted.
He pointed out that the commission was working with more 50 radio and television stations across the country for the airing of jingles, dramas and other civic voter’s education messages for the election.