In order to conduct the pending two separate by-elections for Montserrado County and Bong County within 90 days, the National Elections Commission is complaining the lack of funds to carry out the process, noting that the Commission needs US$3.9M for the conduct of the by-elections.
Addressing both local journalists at a news conference yesterday, March 5, 2018, the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, said the Commission is yet to receive formal response from the Government regarding the final budget or a schedule of commitments and payments.
The by-election is queued to fill the gap of left by the than Senator of Montserrado County, and now President George Weah and Bong County Senator, Jewel Howard-Taylor who is now Vice President during the December 2017 runoff election.
“It is important to stress that the National Elections Commission needs these budgetary discussions to be concluded urgently to meet the electoral timetable. Procurement and planning deadlines to meet the election date are fast approaching and as such; the Commission is asking the government to prioritize this matter so as to ensure that the controlling constitutional provisions are met.”
At a press conference Monday, March 5, held at the headquarters of NEC, Cllr. Korkoya told newsmen that, based on the notice from the Senate, the Chairman of the Commission, acting on behalf of the Board of Commissioners, constituted a steering Committee on February 14, 2018 to plan and oversee the conduct of the two by-elections within the timeframe mandated by the constitution.
The Committee chaired by Commissioner Boakai Dukuly and Co-chair by the NEC Director of Compliance and Risk Management, Anthony Sengbe, developed a budget for the delivery of the pending elections amounting to US$3.9 million along with a clear electoral calendar.
Article 37 of the Liberian Constitution states, “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, and 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; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.
“It is important to stress that the National Elections Commission needs these budgetary discussions to be concluded urgently to meet the electoral timetable. Procurement and planning deadlines to meet the election date are fast approaching and as such, the commission is asking the Government and Ministry of Finance to prioritize this matter so as to ensure that the controlling constitutional provisions are met,” Korkoya said.