The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) challenges the July 29 by-elections in Montserrado County, noting that the polls are ‘unconstitutional’ as they totally lack minimum requirement under the law of Liberia. But the ECC says it will 424 observers throughout the county to monitor the polls.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia Tuesday, July 23, the head of the Elections Coordinating Committee, Oscar Bloh says continuous delay in the by- elections has rendered the entire electoral process unconstitutional, and any further delay would undermine the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
When quizzed whether the ECC will recognize candidates emerging winners from both by-elections as legitimate lawmakers, Mr. Bloh argues it is not within the power of the ECC to decide, but rather political actors should debate that.
He says the ECC is deeply concerned about the postponement of the conduct of the by-elections here, cautioning, “This sets a dangerous precedent for the country’s emerging and fragile democracy. The non-compliance to the rule of law undermines the consolidation of peace and the fundamental principles of good governance and democracy.”
According to him, the perpetual delay in holding the elections could also result to poor turnout on elections day, which could produce winners with low number of voters’ turnout.
The two by-elections in Montserrado County came about as a result of the death of Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif early this year following a protracted illness from womb cancer and District#15 Representative Adolph Lawrence, who died in a tragic motor accident along the Roberts International Airport-Monrovia highway after celebrating his 50th birthday in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Mr. Bloh stresses the Constitution of Liberia is the supreme and fundamental law of Liberia and its provisions shall have binding force and effect on all authorities and persons throughout the Republic.
He also cites Article 37 of the Liberian Constitution, which and mandates the National Elections Commission to fill any vacancy in the legislature not later than 90 days after the presiding officer shall have notified the NEC of said vacancy.
The ECC also calls on the Liberian government to make available the balance US$1 million to the NEC for the conduct of the by-elections on July 29, as reminding that continues postponement of the elections undermines the rule of law and the Liberian Constitution.
At the same time he announces that the ECC will deploy 424 observers to fully observe the by-elections on July 29.
“The ECC will release preliminary statements on its observation efforts on day of the elections and 30, respectively. As the elections draw near, the ECC call on all political actors to refrain from the use of social media and inflammatory statements which have the propensity to incite violence,” he warns.
There are seven candidates vying for the senatorial seat including; Ms. PualitaWie of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, Mr. Abraham Darious Dillon of the four collaborating opposition political parties; Mohammed AyoubaDukuly of the Vision for Liberia Transformation Party; Ms. MacDella Cooper, Massa MassaquoiKanyon, and Mr. Kimmie Weeks and Montserrado County Electoral District #6 incumbent Representative, Samuel Enders, all Independent Candidates.
But from all indications, it is becoming very clear that the senatorial race has been reduced to Mr. Dillon and Ms. Wie, while the race for Montserrado District #15 is now between Mr. Abu Kamara of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and Ms. Tellia Urey of the four collaborating opposition political parties. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne