Ex-Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has tweeted to commend Telia Urey, former candidate of the All Liberian Party in the District #15 Representative by-election in Montserrado County.
This follows Urey’s defeat in the rerun poll on Wednesday.
“Bravo to Telia Urey for strong and effective competition in the recent Monstserrado Representative election and for the magnanimous concession in keeping with the democratic spirit,” ex-President Sirleaf tweeted.
According to the National Elections Commission (NEC), Abu Kamara of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) won with 8,678 votes, representing 49.2 percent, while Telia Urey of the All Liberian Party obtained 6,868 votes or 38.9 percent of the total votes.
NEC acting Chairman Jonathan Weedor, following the pronouncement of the results on Thursday, lauded residents of District #15 for casting their votes in a peaceful manner.
Kamara victory comes following controversies that surrounded the July 29 first phase of the by-election in the district which led to a rerun in six precincts (20 polling places) on August 28.
The rerun was the result of NEC Hearing Officers and Board of Commissioners ruling into a complaint filed against the conduct of the poll by candidate Urey to the NEC while the ballot counting process was in progress.
Urey complained against NEC for what she termed as “several irregularities” that occurred during the conduct of the July 29 by-election.
NEC hearing officer Mauna Ville, in his ruling, stated that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations against the commission.
Cllr. Ville, however, stated that the hearing chamber believes that the ballots that were quarantined as the result of the complaint could have been tempered with given the fact the NEC Data Center Director failed to give the exact time and date the ballots were sealed.
He, therefore, called for a rerun in the affected places within ten days, a ruling that candidate Abu Kamara took exception to and filed an appeal to NEC Board of Commissioners.
The Board, however, upheld the ruling of the Hearing officers that called for a rerun in the affected areas.
Candidate Kamara then filed another appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia, but later withdrew the case, a move that led to NEC setting August 28 as the date for the rerun.
Former President Sirleaf also recently tweeted, not related to the recent by-election, however, that “women should participate fully in decisions that shape their lives, communities and the country at large.”
But despite her show of solidarity with the All Liberian Party’s Urey following the recent vote, many Liberian women interested in political offices have dismissed Madam Sirleaf as having significantly undermined their efforts to get elected to Legislative positions in the course of her 12 years in power.
They say the ex-President had often told women vying to become Senators or Representatives to strive harder as she herself had done since she debuted her political career decades ago.
The Gender Parity Bill, an instrument seeking to give women 30 percent of political positions at the Legislature and in political parties, was initiated during Madam Sirleaf’s regime but failed to get passed into law.
Meanwhile, Ms. Urey conceded to rival Abu Kamara of the ruling CDC even before the NEC officially announced the final result of the vote.
In her post on social media, Urey partly said: “Against so many odds and [evil], we fought fiercely! Not for personal gains, but for a better district and a better Liberia. We may have lost this election, but we have won the confidence and trust of our people. Our fight will continue for the rest of our lives!”
Nonetheless, political pundits say Ms. Urey disrespected her opponent Kamara in said concession statement for failing to mention his name and clearly congratulate him on his victory in the rather tense electoral process.
But in his post-election press conference Wednesday in Logan Town, Kamara, surrounded by thousands of supporters, reached out to Urey and others who contested the by-election to work together and move the District forward in socioeconomic development.
The rerun election in District #15 was intended to fill the vacancy left by the death of Representative Adolph Lawrence who died sometime this year in a tragic motor accident along the Monrovia-Robertsfield highway.