News / Africa

Liberian Voters Reject Proposed Referendum

Liberian voters have rejected four proposed changes to the constitution, including one that would have delayed next month's presidential poll.

Liberian lawmakers had proposed moving national elections back one month, from October 11 to November 8, to avoid the country's rainy season.  

But the electoral commission announced Wednesday that voters rejected that proposed delay along with three other changes to the constitution in last week's referendum.  None of the proposed amendments won the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

The outcome is seen as a victory for the top opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), which called for a boycott of the referendum.

CDC official Steve Cooper said the process was flawed. "We saw the need for our members to stay away from the process. We don't trust the process. We don't trust the National Elections Commission authorities," Cooper stated. "That is why we keep calling for a change in the leadership of the National Elections Commission.  We have no regrets in telling our people to boycott the referendum.  We are happy that Liberians were able to say no to all of the proposed changes."

Opposition leaders argued that certain provisions were designed to favor the ruling Unity Party, which supported all four reforms.

The most controversial amendment would have cut the number of consecutive years a presidential candidate must have resided in Liberia from 10 to five.  Opponents of that measure argued it would split the opposition vote by increasing the number of candidates and make it easier for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to win re-election.

Failure to pass this change could now mean that some would-be candidates are ineligible to run.

The other proposed constitutional changes would have increased the retirement age of Supreme Court judges and eliminated expensive run-off votes in legislative polls.

The electoral commission said only 34.2 percent of registered voters turned out for the referendum, and that approximately 13 percent of ballots were deemed invalid for each proposed amendment.  

The electoral commission blamed poor roads and logistical challenges for low voter turnout.

However, problems with the referendum, including a printing error on the ballots for one provision, have prompted concern as to whether the electoral commission is up to the task of organizing the general elections in October.

The polls will be the country's second since 14 years of civil unrest and war ended in 2003.



You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More