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Liberia cancels nationwide senatorial election over Ebola

Liberia cancels nationwide senatorial election over Ebola
October 09
16:29 2014
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The worsening spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic has made the Liberian government to suspend its nationwide senatorial election, initially scheduled for Tuesday.

With a casualty of Liberia 1,830 and 3,458 infected victims, the country is the most affected of the three West African countries battling the scourge.

Liberia’s upper legislative chamber comprises 30 senators, two representing each of the country’s 15 counties.

In 2011, 15 senators were elected and the remaining 15 vacant seats were supposed to be filled this year.

Nearly 3 million voters were to partake in the election, until the national elections commission, the electoral body in the country announced its recommendation for the exercise to be postponed because of the epidemic.

Chairman of the electoral body, Jerome George Korkoya, said the outbreak prevented the training and deployment of 25,000 staff needed for 4,700 polling stations across the country.

He further said that the election would also require 365 “educators” to raise awareness of the polls in 73 electoral districts across the country, 400 election supervisors and engineers to go around the country to set up Internet connections for the transmission of results.

“The commission is required to internationally procure ballot paper printing services for the printing of 2,640,000 ballot papers, 78,750 mock ballots and 5,000 polling kits, all of which have to be flown into the country,” he said.

“The timely delivery of these materials, most of which are sensitive, cannot be guaranteed in the wake of the current wave of the suspension of flights to Liberia.”

He revealed that the electoral commission would consult political parties and candidates in order to fix a new date, possibly before the end of the year.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the present countries in West Africa battling the virus which has killed almost 4,000 people.

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