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 Final Results of the National Referendum August 31st, 2011

Statement Delivered by Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson, Co-chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC)        

On the Occasion Marking the Declaration of the Final Results of the National Referendum, Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The National Elections Commission (NEC) embarked on the monumental journey of organizing a national referendum about one year ago.
The 2011 referendum became evidently necessary following the passage of a Joint Resolution LEG-002 2010 by the National Legislature in August of 2010. The National Legislature put forward four articles of the 1986 Liberian Constitution to be amended; consequently placed upon the Commission the onerous responsibility to conduct a referendum.
The National Elections Commission congratulates all political parties, as well as all of the eligible voters who, despite all the odds actively participated in the process.
­­­­All 4,457polling places in the fifteen counties have now reported. 615,703 voters turned out to vote in the national referendum which amounts to34.2% of the 1,798,930 registered voters across the country.  Based on the reported voters’ turnout figure, thethreshold for any of the propositions to be ratified is 410, 469 voters. 
Fellow citizens, partners of the NEC, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the official results of the August 23, 2011 national referendum, as certified by the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission are as follows:
Proposition One (52c) which talks about the reduction from 10 to five years in the residency requirement for the presidency or vice presidency; the YES votes account for 292, 318, while the NO votes amount to 246, 473. Invalid votes stand at 76, 912.  Based upon these results, the required number of votes for ratification was not attained; therefore the proposed amendment was not ratified.
Proposition Two(72b) which proposed an increment from 70 to 75 years in the retirement age of Chief Justice, Justices and Judges of  subordinate courts of records, the YES votes account for 221,163, while the NO votes amount to 322,223.  Invalid votes stand at 72,317. Based upon these results, the required number was not obtained; which translates into a non–ratification of the proposed amendment.
Proposition Three (83a) which proposed a change in the elections from second Tuesday in October to the second Tuesday in November in the election year; the YES votes account for 307,647, while the NO votes total 234,517. Invalid votes stand at 73,539. Considering figures, the number of votes required for ratification was not obtained, which means the proposed change or amendment was not ratified.
Proposition Four (83b) which proposed that except for the presidency, all elections for public office shall be won by simple majority, YES votes account for 364,901, while the NO votes total 174,469. Invalid votes stand at 76,333.
Judging from these results, the required number of votes for ratification was not also obtained. This means that proposition Four was not ratified. This therefore means that all the four propositions were not ratified. The Liberian people have spoken and their decision and wishes must be respected. The NEC calls on all Liberians to close this chapter and forge ahead with the presidential and legislative elections in October.   
In closing, the National Elections Commission hails the people of Liberia for participating in the national referendum. The NEC wishes to register its profound appreciation to the Government and people of Liberia, local and international partners of the Commission, including UNDP, UNMIL, USAID, IFES, AU EU, ECOWAS, the LNP, UNPOL, the Media, Civil Society and Observation Organizations for their support.
A big word of appreciation goes to Headquarters and County staffs of the NEC for the pivotal role they played especially the exceptional skills and courage exhibited by the Referendum Coordinating Team and the organizational structure put in place.   I thank you.

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