NEC Sets July 8 For By-Elections – Receives Over US$600,000

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has set a new date for the conduct of the combined Montserrado Senatorial and Representative By-elections.

Addressing a news conference yesterday, NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya disclosed that the conduct of the by-elections in Montserrado is still on course, but with some adjustments. He said due to the financial constraints, the Commission has set July 8, 2019 for the conduct of both by-elections instead of the previous date of July 2, a week extension.

Cllr. Korkoya disclosed yesterday that the Commission has so far received from the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance, Development Planning the amount of L$9,114,000 which amounts to US$600,000 plus.

With the availability of this amount, Cllr. Korkoya said though the combined Senatorial and Representative By-elections will be held within the constitutional timeframe of 90 days, but with a seven days’ extension, meaning that the elections will now be held on July 8, 2019 with some adjustments.

He said NEC has found vendors to print the ballot papers and bring in other electoral material before the June 30 deadline. According to the NEC boss, accreditation of election observers, international and local media is ongoing presently; while the Commission is at the same time recruiting several persons to serve as poll workers during the conduct of the by-elections in Montserrado County.

Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission is calling on candidates in the by-elections to reframe from any form of violence during this electoral period.

On June 4, 2019, NEC assured Liberians that the conduct of the combined Senatorial and Representative By-elections in Montserrado County scheduled for July 2, 2019 was still on course despite the issue of funding to carry on the process.

Cllr. Korkoya told a news conference that though the by-elections will be held on the constitutional time, but due the little delay in negotiations with the Government of Liberia on funding the process, there will be some adjustments made for a smooth electoral process.

After the announcement of key dates for the conduct of the combined by-elections, Cllr. Korkoya disclosed that the Commission submitted a budget of US$2.5 million for the conduct of the two by-elections in Montserrado County, but the government responded with a commitment of US$1.5 million to conduct the process due to the financial constraints.

The NEC boss added that following series of negotiations with the Ministry of Finance Development Planning, the Liberian Government agreed to pay the full US$2.5 million for the by-elections, but has committed US$1.5 million as initial payment to the commission to conduct the two by-elections.

He said due to the insufficiency of the US$1.5 million, the money will be used on sensitive electoral materials with adjustments as some of the activities will not be done, including the replacement of lost voters’ cards. “We expect all the electoral materials to be in the country by June 30, 2019,” he then added.

The NEC boss added, “If the electoral materials cannot be in the country by June 30, 2019, we will reverse to the National Legislature for legal authorization. We are working to live within the 90 days as enshrined in the constitution.”

But yesterday, Cllr. Korkoya confidently told journalists that the combined Montserrado County Senatorial and Representative by-elections will now be held on July instead of the previous date of July 2, 2019

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