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LIBERIA – Presidential term cut rejected by Liberians

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The Lebanese people rejected the eight proposals made by the President of the Republic, Georges Weah. The results of the referendum of 8 December 2020 were published by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on 1 April 2021, four months later due to appeals filed by the opposition. The eight amendments introduced by the Head of State received more than 50% yes, which is far from the two-thirds threshold provided for in the Liberian Constitution. Among these reforms proposed by Georges Weah, are mainly the reduction of the length of the presidential term from six to five years and that of senators from nine to seven years.

The Liberian people were called to the polls on 8 December 2020 to vote on the eight constitutional amendments presented by the Head of State, Georges Weah. 2.5 million citizens voted in this referendum. The Liberians rejected the President’s reforms, which focused on reducing the presidential term from six to five years and that of senators from nine to seven years, but also on allowing dual nationality. Georges Weah believes that he wants to put an end to the long term mandate of elected officials, but despite this positive intention, the Liberian people did not approve these changes in the 1986 Constitution. Indeed, many Liberian citizens think that the constitutional reforms desired by the President of the Republic are just a pretext to make their way to a third mandate as is the case with the Guinean heads of state Alpha Condé and Ivorian Alassane Ouattara. 

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The Liberians are also opposed to dual nationality because, they say, the “American-Liberian” elite, many of whose members are secretly citizens of the United States, seizes the country’s wealth to buy subsequently properties in the United States.

Georges Weah has led Liberia since 2018. It has failed to turn the economy of this West African country, which was marked by the civil war of 1989-2003 and the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016. With the coronavirus pandemic, Liberia is going through a difficult time. That is why the Liberian people have doubts about the true intentions of the president, the only football player on the continent, regarding the proposed constitutional reforms.

       

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