Liberians on Tuesday began voting in key midterm elections in which half of the Senate’s 30 seats will be contested as well as constitutional referendum.
The referendum proposes a key constitutional change that will shorten presidential terms from six to five years and allow citizens to have dual nationality.
However, some President George Weah’s critics are concerned that he could use the constitutional change to extend the number of terms that he serves.
Liberian presidents are limited to two terms, but constitutional changes in neighbouring Guinea and Ivory Coast meant that the heads of state there could run for third terms despite the term limit still being in place.
Observers say the midterm senatorial elections will serve as an important gauge of the current level of support for President Weah and his party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), as he approaches the end of his third year in office.
In today’s election, the most high-stake seat is Montserrado County, which includes the capital, Monrovia, and contains about a third of Liberia’s registered voters.
The seat was taken away from the CDC in a by-election in July 2019 by the CPP’s Abraham Darius Dillon, who has become one of the most vocal critics of the Weah administration.
On Sunday, thousands of citizens, many of them carrying torches and lamps, took to the streets of Monrovia in a show of support for Dillon.