With a reduced budget of US$17 million from initial US$24 million, The National Elections Commission or NEC has announced October 13, 2020, as date for midterm senatorial elections across Liberia.Chairman Jerome George Korkoya informed Plenary of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol tht the Commission needs about US$17.6 million to the conduct the 2020 Special Senatorial elections and national referendum.
He explained the NEC had earlier budgeted US$24 million, it was allegedly rejected by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning on grounds that the Government Liberia lacks financial capacity to generate such amount within the set timeframe.
He noted that after a downward adjustment, the Commission arrived at US$17.6 million, covering national referendum and the senatorial election.
Chairman Korkoya revealed that currently, government through the Ministry of Finance has committed to providing an initial contribution of US$7 to the budget.According to him, in line with the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, official date for senatorial elections is October 13, 2020, while date for the national referendum will be decided by key stakeholders, including the Liberian Legislature.
He said preparations for the conduct of the two major required events are underway but things have slowed down due to lack of financial support to the National Elections Commission.
Cllr. Korkoya told senators that some of the vital information intended for the public and political actors cannot be placed on the NEC’s official website because of lack of funding to upkeep the webpage.
He said publication of voter’s roll update, regulation and key dates that should have been published since December 13 cannot be done due to lack of money.He added the Commission anticipates international partners as usual will come in with some financial assistance to ensure smooth conduct of the polls and referendum.
In response to the Korkoya’s explanation, River Gee County Senator ConmanyWesseh urged the NEC to practice to live within whatever provided by national government, and should stop looking up to international partners or else, it could lead the country into serious trouble with negative impact on the current democracy that everyone is helping to build.
In line with the Constitution, Senators here serve for a period of nine years, three years above the tenure for the Presidency, giving rise to the midterm senatorial elections. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne