Liberia has canceled its nationwide Senate elections scheduled for Tuesday over concerns that the election commission could not safely operate poll stations given the country’s ongoing Ebola crisis. Officials said the elections, in which almost 3 million voters were expected to participate, would have endangered lives and could not be carried out at this time, according to the Agence France-Presse.
Liberia was slated to vote in half of its 30-member upper chamber. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf exercised her authority to declare a state of emergency and suspended “any and all rights ordinarily exercised, enjoyed and guaranteed to citizens.”
“[The government] has been unable to undertake several of the processes that are prerequisites to conducting the pending 2014 Senatorial elections, including the deployment of staff in the field to conduct civil/voter education, the recruitment and deployment of the required polling staff at polling centers, [and] the importation of basic, essential and sensitive electoral materials due to the suspension of flights to Liberia,” the president said in a statement late Wednesday.
Liberia has been hit the hardest by the Ebola outbreak, with more than 3,900 cases. Over 2,200 of those were deadly, according to numbers from the World Health Organization. President Sirleaf said Wednesday that international aid to help combat the Ebola epidemic was arriving too slowly. However, she said there were signs that the outbreak could be “in decline,” Reuters reported.