–As NEC releases provisional results
Authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, finally released the results(partial) gathered from the just ended senatorial and representative by-elections in Montserrado County, with Abraham Darius Dillon comfortably marching ahead of his fellow contestants, including his main opponent, Paulita C.C. Wie of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
At an evening news conference held at the Commission’s headquarters in Monrovia, NEC chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, reported from the tallied provisional results that Abu Mana Kamara of the CDC has received 5,515 votes or 45.95 percent of all the votes tallied so far in Montserrado electoral District #15, while his closest rival, Telia Urey of the four collaborating political parties, received 4,540 votes or 37.89 percent.
For the House of Senate, Abraham Darius Dillon of the four opposition collaborating political parties, which include the Unity Party (UP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP) and All Liberian Party (ALP) received 53,270 votes or 53.88 percent, while Paulita C.C. Wie of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) obtained 36,531 votes or 36.95 percent of the total votes cast, Korkoya announced.
The Commission, according to Korkoya, recorded 263 invalid votes of the 12,265 votes tallied for Montserrado District #15 Representatives with 12,002 being valid.
As for the senatorial race, he said “the total number of votes tallied amounted to 100,519 and, of this number, 98,860 votes were valid, while 1,659 votes were invalid.”
In the wake of yesterday’s NEC pronouncement, Korkoya called on all those placing what he called “undue pressures on the Commission to announce results to stop doing so, because both the Elections Law and the Constitution guarantee the NEC 15 days as of the day an election is held to announce the results.”
He referenced Article 83C of the Constitution, which says: “The returns of elections shall be announced by the NEC within 15 days after the conduct of an election, and any concerns about the election shall be brought forward not later than seven days after the polls.
“Where has this Commission gone wrong?” he rhetorically asked, noting that elections were held barely three days prior to the release of the first provisional results.
Korkoya said consistent with transparency requirements, only representatives of the top two candidates receive copies of the tallied votes.
It can be recalled that rumors had circulated even before the counting of the ballots that Ms. Urey’s votes had been compromised in favor of the CDC. This report was not however independently verified. But Ms. Urey, speaking to the Daily Observer told this newspaper that she had filed official complaint to NEC about what she described as irregularities that occurred at three(3) polling centers.
One of such irregularities according to her was the use, by NEC polling officers, of the addendum Voters registry list, the use of which was outlawed by the Supreme Court during the 2017 elections. In another instance, Ms. Urey has claimed that her representative at one of the polling centers was detained by the Police during the initial vote count which created chances for ballot stuffing which she highly suspects was the case given the fact that she had up to that point enjoyed a considerable lead over her opponent.
But the CDC party chair, Mulbah Morlu and Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous Gray have since maintained that their party was in the lead in the district.
Up to press time last night, many Liberians, among them some employees of the NEC (names withheld), remained glued to allegations that Urey’s votes had been sacrificed for the CDC’s candidate, a deal which they claimed had been sealed during NEC Chairman’s alleged overnight visit to President Weah’s residence prior to the vote thus ensuring that President Weah’s vow to prevent the Urey’s from winning political office is realized
But at yesterday’s ceremony, Korkoya maintained that the process remained “free, fair and transparent void of political interference”. The final total results have however not been officially tabulated.
But political and legal observers here (names withheld) hold the view that Ms. Urey may have to rely more on garnering the bulk of the outstanding votes to ensure victory rather than having to rely on the outcome of a protest filed before the Supreme Court under the watch of a Chief Justice whose loyalty to the executive is unquestionable as was displayed during the J’aneh impeachment trial according to them.