Liberians voted on Tuesday on President George Weah’s strategy to reduce presidential terms, with critics fearing the former football star would use the constitutional referendum to hang on to power.
Weah has argued that maintaining the identical leader for a long time “is not the right way to go” as well as desires presidents along with lower house lawmakers to serve 5 years rather than 6, with senators serving 7 years rather than 9.
Though the move has sparked suspicion in the area as some other presidents used constitutional alterations to re set the clock on the time of theirs in office, extending the grip of theirs on power.
In Guinea, 82-year-old President Alpha Conde received a debatable final term in October after clicking through a brand new constitution which enabled him to avoid a two term limit.
Precisely the same month, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, seventy eight, was a elected for an equally contentious final term, after having modified the nation ‘s constitution.
Opposition political figures in Liberia fear that Weah, fifty four, may consider using a similar action, though the president has denied the claim.
He was elected in 2018 and it is continually serving his first of a maximum 2 terms at work.
Voters also are choosing whether to repeal a 1973 ban on two nationality, a move that some hope might be an economic boon in the very poor country of 4.8 million individuals.
A huge selection of a huge number of Liberians are believed to reside overseas, possessing fled poverty and war.
When another nationality is acquired by them they’re barred from having property at home, nonetheless, along with some other restrictions.
There was lengthy queues at polling stations in Liberia’s capital Monrovia on Tuesday, saying a top turn out.
“I received right here at 5:30 am to vote yes for the two citizenship,” stated Manuela Jackson, a 23-year-old faculty pupil voting in eastern Monrovia, whose brother has US citizenship.
“That is the sole interest I’ve (in) this particular vote,” she added.
When the referendum overturn the dual nationality ban, Liberians with 2 passports will continue to stay barred from elected office.
Casting the vote of his in Monrovia in the late morning, Weah believed that Liberia “needs being peaceful,” in an obvious reference to current election related tensions elsewhere in the area.
“We do not have to tear the country of ours down, therefore the task is fair,” he added.
Test for Weah Some view the referendum – that is happening alongside a mid term senatorial election – for a bellwether of help for Weah.
Born in Monrovia’s slums, the president rose to football stardom and after that to his nation ‘s highest office, which makes him an idol to a lot of.
But Weah is confronting mounting criticism over bad living standards in Liberia.
The nation continues to be recovering after back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003, and West Africa’s 2014 16 Ebola problems. Additionally, it is suffering from soaring inflation, fuel shortages and regular cash and.
The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), an opposition coalition, has led the charge from the referendum and possesses urged the supporters of its to boycott the poll.
It argues that there wasn’t sufficient public discussion about problems, which few completely understand.
“We do not have any idea exactly what the ramifications are if you vote’ yes’ or maybe you vote’ no’,” CPP secretary general Mohammed Aly told AFP just recently, warning that Weah might find additional phrases.
Weah’s chief of staff Nathaniel McGill dismissed the case the president will seek to expand the stay of his in business, mentioning in October the president had yet to even complete the first term of his.
“It isn’t good for one male to be president for much time,” McGill told reporters during the time.
Right after a peaceful election campaign, worries of electoral violence even surfaced on Sunday when protesters attacked a CPP politician’s convoy in the northwest of the nation. Weah has condemned the violence.
Approximately 2.5 million voters are registered to vote, based on the national elections commission.
Polls are placed to close at 6:00 pm, with first results expected this week.