Liberia Suspends Elections In Wake Of Ebola Epidemic

With various reports describing the nation in near collapse, Liberia is canceling its national elections as Ebola continues to ravage the nation:

Monrovia (AFP) – Ebola-hit Liberia has suspended nationwide elections in the latest measure to combat an epidemic which has shut down society in three west African nations, restricting travel and forcing the cancellation of public events.

Almost three million voters had been due to take part in Senate polls on Tuesday but organisers said there was no way a “mass movement, deployment and gathering of people” could go ahead without endangering lives.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was exercising powers under a state of emergency announced in August “to suspend… any and all rights ordinarily exercised, enjoyed and guaranteed to citizens,” the foreign office said in a statement issued late Wednesday, quoting a presidential proclamation.

Liberia, which has seen more than half of the almost 4,000 deaths so far in the outbreak ravaging west Africa, had been due to elect half of its legislative upper chamber.

The election commission said in a statement it had recommended the postponement because it could not conduct “a free, fair, transparent and credible election” because of the epidemic.

The elections are the latest casualty of an epidemic which has forced Liberia and neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea to announce a nationwide state of emergency.

This obviously not the best development for Liberia’s political future, but in the midst of an epidemic such as this that has utterly devastated the country’s health system and other resources, it’s entirely understandable. They’ve got other problems right now, elections are something of a luxury.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mu says:

    How long until Drudge or Hotair will claim that Obama will use the same tactic here?

  2. JKB says:

    If they are canceling the elections, the country has collapsed.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Don’t confuse cancelling with postponing. That “suspending” sounds more like postponing to me. If after the whole Ebola thing finishes they still aren’t having elections, then you can make predictions of collapse.

    Chalk this one up to bad writing.

  4. Gustopher says:

    They must be Republicans, because they are trying to keep black people from voting…

  5. bill says:

    @JKB: over there it would be an improvement.
    @Gustopher: nice!