Liberia to hold senatorial elections amid Ebola crisis

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Ebola crises: Liberia to hold elections
Monrovia, Oct 21: Liberia's National Election Commission (NEC) has announced plans to conduct the senatorial elections Dec 16 despite growing concerns that the Ebola virus may still wreak havoc at the time.

The West African country's electoral panel said Monday it acted on the outcome of a series of consultative meetings, with candidates and other stakeholders, as requested by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf when she suspended the holding of the Oct 14 election because of Ebola, Xinhua reported.

commission spokesperson Joel Kennedy told reporters in Monrovia Monday that the Dec 16 date is subject to approval by the legislature.

Kennedy said the legislature last week informed the NEC to conduct the senatorial election no later than Dec 20, 2014.

The NEC has qualified 139 candidates, who have met all stipulated requirements set by the commission.

Kennedy said Montserrado county, where Liberia's political and commercial capital Monrovia is located, has the most number of candidates at 11, including football star George Manneh Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change, and Roberts Sirleaf, the son of President Sirleaf.

Gender imbalance is still huge in the Liberian political setting, as out of the 139 candidates contesting for the senate only 20 are females.

Kennedy said there are 46 independent candidates contesting for a place in the senate.

IANS

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