Members of the House of Representatives have finally passed the timetable submitted by the National Elections Commission for the conduct of the Special Senatorial Election.
In spite of the Ebola crisis here, the lawmakers also agreed that campaign commences this Sunday, 16 November while the elections are conducted on December 16, 2014.
Article 46 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia states in part that, “immediately after the Senate shall have assembled following the elections prior to the coming into force of this Constitution, the Senators shall be divided into two categories as a result of the votes cast in each county…
The seats of Senators of the first category shall be vacated at the expiration of the ninth years.
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. Thereafter, all Senators shall be elected to serve a term of nine years.”
But due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requested for the postponement of the Special Elections.
The House of Representatives took the decision Tuesday in regular session at the Capitol and also recommended that the elections be conducted in counties that are relatively free of the Ebola Virus disease while other counties that are heavily infected by the virus currently will hold ‘by-elections’ in 90 days.
The House of Representatives through its Committee on Elections and Inauguration said that based on the outbreak of the deadly virus, the Special Senatorial Elections should be conducted Ebola free, and that the National Elections Commission will work closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in identifying highly infected counties.
Recently, the NEC submitted the electoral timetable for the endorsement of the Liberian Legislature, but the lower House said the lives of the Liberian people are cardinal to the State, and as national leaders, they would not mortgage the safety of the people just to conduct an election.
Meanwhile, the document has been forwarded to the Liberian Senate for possible concurrence. But members of that august body have sent said instrument to committee for discussion tomorrow, Thursday.