NEC Requests By-Elections Held No Later Than November 16

NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lasanah

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has mandated its Joint Committee on Autonomous Commissions and Agencies and Judiciary, to scrutinize a proposal from President George M. Weah, seeking a joint Resolution from the Legislature for the conduct of by-elections in four political districts in the country; the committee is to report its findings to the Plenary on Thursday August 26, 2021.

Yesterday’s action by plenary was triggered by a communication forwarded on Tuesday, August 17, to the Senate by President Weah on behalf of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

President Weah in the communication indicated  : “I am pleased to forward self-explanatory communications from the National Elections Commission (NEC), informing me about the non-feasibility to conduct the By-Elections in Bomi, Bong, Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties as required by law.”

The President, in the communication, added that the NEC has proposed collapsing the by-elections and holding them on the same date, and is looking forward to conducting these by-elections no later than November 16, 2021 and also requested a joint Resolution from the Legislature.

“Honorable President Pro-Tempore, in consideration of the aforementioned, I kindly request a joint Resolution of the Legislature, mandating the National Elections Commission to conduct the four By-Elections no later than November 16, 2021,” the President noted.

In the elections body’s communication to President Weah, dated August 5, 2021, NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lasanah informed the President that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has provided 99.9 percent of funding for the by-elections and, therefore, the Commission is looking toward to conducting these By-Elections no later than the 16th of November 2021.

The Commission in its communication further informed the President that, considering the 90 days mandate of Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution, within which election for vacant seats should be held, the NEC is expecting to receive the Joint Resolution of both Houses by today, August 18, 2021.

The NEC, at the same time, told the President through the communication that these by-elections may be pushed to 2022, should the Joint Resolution be delayed beyond August 2021.

The four by-elections were created based on the elections of four sitting Legislators of the House of Representatives to the Senate during the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections. 

Those elected Senators at the time included Edwin Melvin Snowe (District 1, Bomi), Zoe Emmanuel Pennue (District 1, Grand Gedeh), Prince K. Moye (District 2, Bong) and Jeremiah Kpan Koung (District 1, Nimba) respectively.

In consonance with Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution, these vancacies were to be filled within 90 days following the declaration of a vacancy by the House of Representatives.