Ten candidates have been certified to contest the April 21 by-election in Electoral District #2, Rivercess County, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced.
NEC made the disclosure last Wednesday at a press conference in Yarpah Town, Rivercess County, in line with the Key dates for the by-election in the county.
In a statement, Acting NEC Chairman, Cllr. Sarah Toe, said candidates qualified to contest the election include nine political parties and one independent candidate, among whom is a female.
The contenders to replace the vacant seat created by the exit of Senator Francis Paye include, Congress for Democratic Change’s (CDC) Charles Z. Bartee, Liberty Party’s Matthew T. Wally and Kofi Bob Zah of the People’s Unification Party (PUP).
Alternative National Congress (ANC) selected Thomas M. Doue to stand in the election as its candidate while Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) has Byron Wehgbiah Zahnwes as its torch bearer.
Even though the vacant seat does not belong to any political institution, as Senator Paye ran on an independent ticket, the governing Unity Party is keen on regaining its dominance in the Legislature, and as such, Jerry Floh Greene has been named to deliver the district to the party.
Still fighting to reestablish and rebuild its image, former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) backs Gabriel Paul for the race. The only female candidate, Lucky T. K. Wesseh, has the support of National Democratic Coalition (NDC) while former Kiss FM reporter Hilary F. Mentoe believes that there’s no need for political party clout, so he’s taking the challenge as an independent candidate.
Though Mentoe anticipates victory in the ensuing By-election, a financial scandal hangs over him involving some US$500 donated to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) in 2005 by the late presidential contender Margaret Thompson. This remains a factor Mentoe has to clear with his professional colleagues in order to regain media confidence, a political commentator noted.
Meanwhile, the Commission announced March 25 as the start of political campaign for the By-Election and ends it on April 19.
Declaring campaign open, the Acting Chairman called on all candidates and their supporters to go about their campaign activities in a peaceful manner.
She wants the campaign period to be used by the candidates to market their ideologies and plans for the advancement of District Number 2 in particular and Liberia in general.
the county. Cllr. Toe called on the candidates and their supporters to avoid rancor and bitter exchanges and show respect to each other as they go about their campaign activities.
The Commission also urged all candidates and their supporters to observe all public health regulations instituted by the Government of Liberia and health authorities to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus during the course of the campaign.
On January 22 this year, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler informed the Commission of a vacancy in the house occasioned by the election of Rivercess County Electoral District #2 Representative Francis Paye as Senator during the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
The Letter, which constitutes the legal authority of the National Elections Commission to conduct a Representative By-Election in Electoral District Number 2, Rivercess County, is a requirement of Article 37 of the Liberian constitution which, in relevant part, states that “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature created by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the Presiding Officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a By-election to be held.”