Liberians reject Weah plan for shorter terms, dual citizenship

Published: 1/Apr/2021
Source: AFP

Liberians have rejected plans to shorten presidential terms and to allow dual citizenship, the country’s electoral commission said Thursday, announcing referendum results delayed for months over allegations of fraud.

The West African nation went to the polls in mid-December for a constitutional referendum proposed by President George Weah, 54, who had argued against politicians staying in office for too long.

But his proposal for presidents and lower house lawmakers to serve five years instead of six, and for senators to serve seven years instead of nine, sparked suspicion in Liberia.


At a press conference in the capital Monrovia on Thursday, the head of Liberia’s National Elections Commission, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, announced that none of the propositions had passed.

While all had received over 50 percent of the votes, a two-thirds majority was required for them to pass.

About 54 percent of voters were in favour of reducing the presidential terms, against about 46 percent who opposed the move.

The December referendum also asked voters whether to lift a controversial ban on dual nationality — a move some hoped could propel investments in the poor nation of 4.8 million people.

Hundreds of thousands of Liberians are thought to reside overseas, having fled war and poverty.

But if they acquire another nationality they are barred from owning property at home, among other restrictions.

Liberia’s electoral commission said that this proposition also failed, with only 51.5 percent of voters in favour of lifting the ban, and 48.5 opposed.

The final referendum results were not published for months because votes in some areas of the country were delayed because of reported violence and allegations of fraud.

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Themes: Dual Nationality, Nationality of Politicians
Regions: Liberia
Year: 2021