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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid