Liberia: National Elections Commission Wants US$390.2k for Montserrado, Sinoe Counties By-elections

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Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The National Elections Commission (NEC) has requested US$390,214.32 to conduct the By-elections in Montserrado County District #9 and Sinoe County District #2.

In a communication to the House of Representatives through Speaker Bhofal Chambers, the NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Browne Lansanah said the budget for Montserrado County District #9 is US$223,423.97, while Sinoe County District #2 is US$166,790.35.

The by- elections came as the result of the deaths of Representatives Nagbe Sloh (District #2, Sinoe County) and Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood (District #9, Montserrado County) In June and July respectively.

However, the NEC was officially informed about the vacancies in the wake of the lawmakers’ death on September 9, 2020.

Counting from the date of notification and in line with Article 37 of the Constitution, the NEC has decided to blend the by-elections with the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial elections and referendum.

Article 37 mandates NEC to conduct by-elections to fill vacant seats no later than 90 days of the date of notification.

According to Madam Lansanah, the budget presented to the Legislature was far less than it would have been if the by-elections were held separately from the December 8 polls.

“Given that the conduct of the two Representative By-elections during the Special Senatorial Elections and Referendum, the cost is significantly reduced since the by-elections will benefit much from what will be deployed into the field for the conduct of the Special Senatorial elections and Referendum” she wrote in the communication.

Meanwhile, the plenary of the House has mandated its Committee on Ways, Means and Finance to review the request of the Commission to report on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

Rep. Jaybloh Nagbe Sloh (District #2, Sinoe County), a renowned Liberian veteran political journalist later turned politician died on June 30, 2020 at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia after a brief illness, while his colleague Rep. Munah Pelham-Youngblood died on July 8, 2020 in Accra, Ghana after a protracted illness.

The two have since been buried, while their demises have reduced the members of the House of Representatives from 73 to 71.

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