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Opposition takes early lead

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Official preliminary results from the National Elections Commission (NEC) have put the main opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP’s) senatorial candidate Abraham Darius Dillon ahead of his main opponent Rep. Thomas Fallah of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in the just – ended December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections.

NEC Chairperson Madam Davidetta Browne – Lassanah told a press conference Thursday, 10 December at the commission’s head office in Sinkor, suburb of Monrovia that the first preliminary result amounts to 12 percent of the total votes cast and counted.

The senatorial polls combined with the conduct of national referendum on Tuesday, 8 December followed months of heated exchanges between the ruling establishment and the opposition in a tense political environment that had the vast majority of the population on its heels for unpredictable post-election events.

While the campaign period and the Election Day were seen to be largely peaceful, the political atmosphere got tense beginning Wednesday in Grand Bassa and Montserrado Counties where supporters of the ruling CDC and the opposition CPP appear to celebrate their candidates’ performances ahead of the official announcement of provisional results by the NEC Thursday.

Anger over the government’s combination of the national referendum with the senatorial election prompted the opposition CPP to urge its supporters to vote no to all the eight propositions contained in it, while the ruling CDC campaigned for a ‘yes vote’ to all propositions.

Some of the contentions raised against the referendum include lack of adequate awareness and education for the population and a fear that incumbent President George Manneh Weah could follow in the steps of his counterparts in neighboring Guinea and Ivory Coast to seek third term once the presidential tenure is dropped from six to five years, among others.

But Weah insists that he has no interest in a third term bid. In fact, Article 93 of the Liberian Constitution makes that very clear that any amendment would not benefit the incumbent president. Of the 12 percent votes counted so far, incumbent Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon obtained 44,692, amounting to 60 percent while his main opponent Representative Thomas Fallah obtained 26,697, amounting to 36.3 percent.

For Grand Bassa County, CPP’s incumbent Senator Nyonblee Karnga – Lawrence who is seeking re-election has obtained 8,608 votes amounting to 47.5 percent, while the ruling CDC’s candidate Gbehnzohngar Milton Findley obtained 8,018 votes, amounting to 44.3 percent. In Bong County, Deputy House Speaker Prince Moye gathered 1,678 which represents 52.61 percent, while incumbent Senator Henry Yallah obtained 1,206 votes amounting to 37.3 percent.

For Grand Cape Mount County, ruling CDC candidate Victor Watson obtains 412 votes which represent 11.5 percent, while CPP’s Simeon Taylor collects 1,333 or 37.2 percent. In Margibi County, CDC’s Ivar Jones gathers 109 votes amounting to 38.0 percent, while Emmanuel James Nuquay, an independent candidate, collects 1,504 votes amounting to 52.0 percent.

Further in Maryland County, CDC’s James Biney collects 1,344 votes which amount to 36.3 percent, while incumbent Senator H. Dan Morais, an independent candidate, obtains 39.8 percent of the votes counted so far. In Nimba County, Representative Jeremiah Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction collects 3,361 votes amounting to 38.5 percent, while the major contender on the CPP ticket Madam Edith Gongloe Weh obtains 1,640 or 18 percent.

Additionally in Gbarpolu County, CDC’s Alfred Kwaque collects 338 votes amounting to 13 percent, while the closest contender Armah Jallah obtains 265 amounting to 9 percent.The NEC chair Madam Lassanah says the preliminary results represent only 12 percent of the total votes cast from the eight counties counted.

She cautions the public that the commission is the only statutory authority to announce the results, warning that if anyone is doing that in these elections, they are creating election tensions among Liberians. She urges Liberians to be patient while assuring them that the commission will release preliminary results on a daily basis, adding that transparency and fairness have been the hallmark of the commission.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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