Ebola-hit Liberia delays election until weekend

liberiacapitolMonrovia (AFP) – A much-postponed election for half the seats in Ebola-hit Liberia’s Senate has been put back until the weekend — but cannot be further delayed, the country’s electoral commission said Monday.

The vote for 15 seats in the upper house of parliament has been postponed twice already as the epidemic ravaged the impoverished west African nation.The National Elections Commission (NEC) said the poll will now be held on December 20.

Football star George Weah — who played for Chelsea and AC Milan before retiring from the game in 2003 — and the son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf, are among the 139 candidates in the running for a seat.

Weah, 48, ran unsuccessfully against Johnson Sirleaf for president in the country’s 2005 election.

Liberia was the country worst hit by the deadly virus until it was overtaken by a surge in deaths in neighbouring Sierra Leone last week. At least 3,177 people have died in Liberia out of a total of 7,719 confirmed or suspected cases of the disease.

The Supreme Court in Monrovia had suspended the resumed election campaign at the end of last month because of safely fears as the country battled to contain the outbreak.

“The decision to reschedule the election from December 16 to December 20 is intended to compensate for the time lost as a result of the stay order imposed on the election and campaign activities by the Supreme Court,” NEC spokesman Joey Kennedy said in a statement. (read more)

ebola, elections, Liberia