MONROVIA, Montserrado â€“ The National Elections Commission has announced the Coalition for Democratic Changeâ€™s Abu Kamara as the winner of Montserradoâ€™s 15th district representative by-election.
NEC announced the final tallied results on Thursday, after the rerun of voting at six specific precincts in the district on Wednesday.
Kamara won with 8,678 votes or 49.2 percent of the combined tallied votes. The All Liberian Partyâ€™s candidate, Telia Urey, acquired 6,868 votes, constituting 38.9 percent of the combined total valid votes.
Prior to the rerun on Wednesday, Urey led Kamara with 5,573 votes, representing 42.68 percent of total valid votes tallied from 74 out of the 94 polling centers in the district. At the time, Kamara had acquired 5,417 votes, which also amounted to 41.48 percent of the total tallied votes.
The rerun was conducted at centers that were quarantined as a result of two separate complaints of discrepancies filed by Urey and independent candidate, Bishop Siebo Frank, claiming that discrepancies there amounted to electoral irregularities.
After hearing from more than 16 witnesses from both campaign committee of the ALP candidate and the NEC, the commissionâ€™s independent hearing office ruled that the petitioners, led by their lead counsel, Lavala Supuwood, failed to prove their allegations against the NEC. However, the hearing office said the quarantined ballots in the possession of the commission could have been tampered with, considering that the head of the commissionâ€™s data center failed to give the exact time and date the ballots were quarantined.
The independent hearing office meanwhile ordered for a rerun for the affected precincts, to take place in ten days. Urey accepted the ruling but encouraged NEC to remove the head of its data center, while the co-respondents and interveners for Kamara and the CDC, \filed for an appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners.
However, the commissioners affirmed the previous decision of the independent hearing office to rerun the by-election in the six precincts, which amounted to the 20 specific polling centers.
Lawyers representing the CDC and its candidate also issued a notice to appeal a decision by NECâ€™s Board of Commissioners. The notice of appeal was later withdrawn, thus leading to the scheduling of the rerun for Wednesday, August 28.
NECâ€™s final results show that the CDC candidate won most of the votes in the rerun.
Urey posted on her Facebook page on Wednesday evening, promising to continue to fight for residents of the district, although she might have lost the election.
â€œAgainst so many odds and evil, we fought fiercely! Not for personal gains, but for a better district and a better Liberia. We may have lost this election, but we have won the confidence and trust of our people,â€ she wrote.
She also praised her supporters and promised to always be there on their behalf.
â€œTo our supporters, we canâ€™t thank you enough for everything youâ€™ve put into this process. Our struggle for your lives to get better has just begun,â€ she added.
Featured photo courtesy of Abu Kamaraâ€™s campaign