By Morrison O.G. Sayon
The National Elections Commission (NEC) has clarified that the pending October 14, 2014 Election is not a By-Election as speculated in many quarters.
Clarifying the issue on Monday when he and other Commissioners of the NEC met with media executives in an acquaintance meeting on Monrovia, NEC Chairman, Jerome Korkoya, said the October 14, 2014 Election is a Special Election which is provided for in the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
“This coming election is also a general election that affects every part of the country because the entire country will be involved in the process unlike By-elections where only districts or counties are involved,” Chairman Korkoya said.
Chairman Korkoya noted that many Liberians do not understand the issue of Special Election and are terming it as By-election. “Even prominent people in society including those in government still don’t understand the issue of special election and that is one of our many challenges to educate them on the upcoming election,” Chairman Korkoya said.
The Commissioner stated further that the Civic Voter Education (CVE) is a key component of the electoral process which it is focusing on for the citizens to know the difference between Special Election and by-election. NEC is at the same time seeking partnership with the media in carrying out its functions especially the upcoming Special Senatorial Election which many Liberians still do not understand.
Mr. Korkoya is worried over the lack of understanding by some Liberians about the Special Election and therefore, wants the media to play a key role in the process. He wants the Liberian media to disseminate information about the Special Election through its publications and airtimes.
Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission has released key electoral dates for the October 14, 2014 Special Election. September 15, 2013 was the publication of voter roll update regulations’ November 1, December 31, 2013 Accreditation of observers, party agents, and media for voter roll update; January 4, 2014, Civic and voter education on voter roll update launched; January 13 – March 5, 2014, Voter roll update and April 28 – may 2, 2014, exhibition (claims and objections) of provisional registration roll (voter list).
The Commission also said April 28 – May 12, 2014, is the determination of claims and objections on exhibition, May 9, 2014, issuance of writ of election, June 9-30, 2014, accreditation of observers, party agents, and media for election and June 30, 2014, release of final voter registration update figures; July 2-24, 2014, candidates nomination period.
Also on July 2-August 9, 2014 objections and appeals on nomination will be held and determined, July 4, 2014, civic and voter education on election launched and July 7- 12, 2014, period for replacement of lost & damaged VR cards; July 27, 2014, preliminary list of candidates published, August 12, 2014, final list of candidates published and August 12-October 12, 2014 political campaign period.
NEC also disclosed that August 15-September 30, 2014, is candidates’ debate period; October 14, 2014 is election day; October 29, 2014 announcement of final results of the Special Senatorial Election.
Meanwhile the Commission has also said that the calendar of events of the Special Election is subject to adjustments depending on prevailing circumstances. One of the situations facing the NEC is funding as the budget for the Special Election has been slashed by the National legislature from US$15.3 million to US$4.3 million.