Monrovia, Liberia: The National Elections Commission (NEC) says the date for the 2020 Special Senatorial Election (SSE) and Constitutional Referendum is not feasible amidst the current global outbreak of coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus or Covid-19 a global pandemic on 12 January 2020 following the rapid spread of the respiratory disease worldwide. On 16 March, in response to the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Liberia, President George M. Weah announced series of measures, including travel restrictions within the Country, ban on international travel to and from Liberia, and avoidance of public gatherings. On 10 April, the President declared a 21-day state of emergency, which was later approved and extended by the Legislature to 60 days until 11 June.
The Coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions have impacted on preliminary activities leading to 2020 SSE and Referendum, notably the international procurement required to secure electoral materials; assessment of the voter registration centers critical for voter roll update preparations, recruitment and training of temporary staffs, all which are indispensable for the credible conduct of the electoral process.
In response to the challenge, the NEC Board of Commissioners has recommended to the President of Liberia to request the Legislature to enact a resolution to temporarily suspend the13 October date of the SSE and set a new date within this year for the conduct of the election.
In line with the Constitution, the 2020 SSE election is scheduled for October 13, 2020 alongside the Referendum. Article 83 (a) of the Constitution of Liberia stipulates that “voting for the President, Vice-President, members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year.”
Source: National Elections Commission official Facebook Page