Members of the Liberian Senate have failed to concur with their counterparts in the House of Representatives on the readjusted timetable of the 2014 Midterm Senatorial Elections.
Senator H. Dan Morais
Members of the House of Representatives had earlier passed the timetable for the conduct of the Elections, with the agreement that the campaign would commence on Sunday, November 16, 2014 and the election conducted on December 16, 2014, but the Senate, which is the direct beneficiary of the elections, has totally turned down the possibilities of the December 16 elections.
The Senate’s Committee Chairman on Foreign Relations, Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais, told reporters that the action of the senators could stall the conduct of the elections that could create some political tensions here.
But the senators- thirteen of whom are seeking re-election, said the timetable set by the House of Representatives and National Elections Commission was unrealistic, and that they- members of the august body, will not accept such proposal.
The Senate took the decision Thursday, following lengthy discussions behind closed-doors, earlier presided-over by the President of the Senate, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and Senator Morais. The senators did not only refuse to concur with the House of Representatives, but also failed to recommend an alternative timetable for the conduct of the much-anticipated elections.
The senators also expressed confusion over the communication from the National Elections Commission or NEC regarding the county it considered badly hit Ebola terrain or one manageable for elections. Due to the Ebola outbreak in the country, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requested the postponement of the Special Elections.
With the current political mishaps on Capitol Hill, campaign activities expected on Sunday to mark the commencement of the Senatorial Elections may likely not hold until a common ground in the Liberian Senate can be reached.
The Senators said they consider the lives of the Liberian people key and cardinal to the state, and as national leaders, will not mortgage their safety only because of an election. It is yet to establish whether those disfavoring the elections are in the major or participants of the elections. Thirteen of the thirty Senators are seeking re-election, while two will be not.
According to the 1986 Liberian Constitution, in the interest of legislative continuity, the Senators of the second category shall serve a first term of six years only after the first elections, following which all Senators shall be elected to serve a term of nine years”. Recently, the National Elections Commission submitted the readjusted timetable for endorsement by the Legislature so as to conduct the elections.