By Festus Poquie
Liberia’s National Elections Commission has received $49.7 million United States dollars from central government to conduct the scheduled October 10 presidential and legislative elections.
The electoral body budgeted $53 million for the polls. With less than two months to the vote, about $3 million is outstanding according to NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah. Liberian authorities are financing the elections 100% for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Final voter Registration Roll will be published and released to registered political parties in September and the elections will go ahead as scheduled, she told Senators Tuesday.
NEC has qualified 20 candidates to contest for the office of president in the country’s fourth democratic elections since the end of civil war in 2003. Also certified are over 800 candidates standing for the House of Representatives, which has 73 seats.
Incumbent President George Weah is running on the ticket of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change to secure a six-year second term in a vote that will also feature former Vice President Joseph Boakai of the main opposition Unity Party of ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Alexander Cummings, a businessman and former Coca-Cola executive is leading the Collaborating Political Parties, which encompasses the Alternative National Congress and the Liberty Party. Cummings and Boakai had a failed bid in 2017.
Boakai,78, who served as Johnson Sirleaf’s deputy between 2006 and 2017 is banking on souring food and fuel oil prices and corruption scandal dogging Weah’s administration to retake power lost to the ex AC Millan star in the 2017 presidential contest.