Senate President Pro-tempore Gbehnzohngar Milton Findley has announced that the Liberian Senate is holding a series of consultations with stakeholders, including the House of Representatives, National Elections Commission and other relevant institutions on the status of the October 14, 2014 special senatorial election.
Pro-tempore Findley told a news conference on Friday that the consultation is intended to help the senate find a suitable timetable for the conduct of the election.
He said, though the issue is a challenging and testing time for the country’s constitution, the senate is working closely with partners in finding a suitable way forward.
The Senate’s initiative is as a result of a communication sent by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf through the Chairman of the National Election Commission, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya.
The President, in her communication to the upper House, expressed impossibility in the senatorial election next month in the wake of the Ebola pandemic.
The Liberian leader stressed that there is a serious restriction on movement and gathering of people, something that impedes the electoral process. The communication furthered that the National Elections Commission will not be effectively able to have its entire staff trained in the process.
Last month, NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, said the Commission may be unable to deploy staff in the field to conduct Civic/Voter Education as well as recruit and deploy 25,000 polling staff at polling centers across Liberia. Chairman Korkoya said the Commission’s recommendation is also based on the fact that the Ebola outbreak would hinder the smooth conduct of campaign activities by candidates, desirous of contesting the October 14 poll.
He said the health emergency in Liberia may affect the conduct of free, fair, transparent and credible election. The NEC boss made the recommendation last week Wednesday at a meeting held with political parties and individuals whose names were recently published on the provisional list of candidates for the senatorial race.
The Commission had recommended that the election be postponed to the first week in December, 2014. In response, attendees of the meeting, however, noted that due to the constitutional ramification involved, the NEC should take appropriate steps to ensure that such recommended postponement is done in line with the laws of Liberia.