NEC Prepares to Conduct Bong and Montserrado Senatorial By-Elections

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The National Elections Commission has announced preparations to conduct senatorial by-elections for Bong and Montserrado.

The by-elections are meant to fill the vacancies created in the Senate as the result of the elections of two of its members – George Weah and Jewel Howard-Taylor – as president and vice president, respectively.

NEC announced in a release on Wednesday that it received a notification from the Senate on February 13 about the two vacancies.

According to the release, the Senate’s communication was in agreement with the requirements of the constitution.

The law states, “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion, or otherwise, the presiding officer shall, within 30 days, notify the National Elections Commission thereof.” The constitution further required that a by-election be held within 90  days.

“Accordingly, the Commission has immediately begun putting appropriate mechanisms for the conduct of two by-elections for senators in Bong and Montserrado counties not later than 90 days as of the date of notification,” NEC’s press release disclosed.

Ahead of the official opening of registration for candidates, there are rumors that several individuals intend to aspire for the posts in the counties.

In Montserrado, a group calling itself the Leelai Kpukuyou Movement has been pushing for the candidacy of the secretary general of the Liberia Business Association, Leelai Kpukuyou. A press statement released by the group said there is a need for a woman to occupy the vacant senatorial position, given the dearth of female lawmakers in Liberia.

“No time is better to bridge this gap than now! Henceforth, women in politics and leadership must be the fulcrum of our national discourse,” the group said in a release.

“Gender parity in the body politics of Liberia still remains a major challenge that needs keen attention. If our national leadership is to be more proactive and robust in making decisions that affect the general good of all Liberians, women participation should be given more priority and attention in strategic.”

Others expected to run in Montserrado include Montserrado’s eighth district representative, Acarous Gray; Montserrado’s 13th district representative, Saah Joseph; former finance minister, Amara Konneh; and the son of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf.

In Bong, former Internal Affairs Minister Henrique Tokpah; the Alternative National Congress’ vice standard bearer, Jeremiah Sulunteh; and a youth advocate, Steve Kennedy, are also among those likely to contest.

Featured photo by Lloyd Massah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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