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GeneralLiberia news

NEC announces by-elections for April 23rd

By Naneka A.  Hoffman 

The National Elections Commission (NEC) announces 23rd, 2024 as the date for Senatorial By-election in Nimba and Representative By-election in District #1, Grand Gedeh County, respectively. 

NEC chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah says the Commission was officially notified on 1st February 2024 by the Liberian Senate of the existence of a vacancy in the senate after the election of Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung as Vice President of the Republic of Liberia on the Presidential ticket of President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. during the 14 November 2023 Presidential Run-off Election.

She says similarly, on 2nd February 2024, the House of Representatives notified the Commission of a vacancy due to the passing of Representative-elect,  Erol Madison Gwion, of District #1, Grand Gedeh County after he was elected on 10 October 2023. 

The NEC Boss notes that in both communications, the Senate and House of Representatives emphasized that the letters notifying the Commission about the two vacancies constituted “sufficient authority” of the Commission to conduct by-elections in Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties respectively to fill the vacant seats in consonance with Article 37 of the Constitution of Liberia which states that “In the event of vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days inform the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held.

Madam Lansanah explains that following receipt of the notifications, the Commission immediately began initial planning activities to conduct these by-elections. 

However, she adds that in so doing, the budget for the by-elections has been drafted and is currently being reviewed by the Board of Commissioners.

She reveals that the timeline has been developed in which the Commission plans to conduct both by-elections on 23 April 2024.

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Chairperson Lansanah details that the Writ of Elections has been issued to the concerned election magistrates, and the key dates will be published subsequently.

She notes that statistically, Nimba County is the second largest county in terms of voting population, so the Commission is organizing polls for 307,254 registered voters at 262 precincts, comprising 736 polling places.

 She says it requires 3,846 polling staff to man the polls in Nimba while in District #1, Grand Gedeh County, there are 20,407 registered voters and 11 precincts, comprising 46 polling places, which requires 243 polling staff.

She explains that the Commission is currently involved in a number of post-2023 electoral activities including the process of documenting lessons learned from the 2023 General Elections and legal reform.

It is expected that the documented lessons learned will inform the electoral reform agenda and the development of a new six-year strategic plan (July 2024-June 2030). Personnel of the Commission have also begun professional development activities, including Train the Facilitators’ Building Resources in Democracy Governance and Election (BRIDGE) training.

The NEC reiterates its commitment to credibly conducting all electoral activities, the pending Senatorial and Representative By-elections being no exception. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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