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Liberians Reject Four Proposals to Amend Nation’s Constitution

Liberian voters have rejected four proposals to amend the West African nation’s constitution, including a plan to delay national elections for one month, the National Elections Commission announced.

All four propositions in an Aug. 23 referendum failed to win the two-thirds majority required to change the constitution, the commission said today in Monrovia, the capital.

The acting chairman of the panel, Elizabeth Nelson, told a press conference that 34.2 percent, or 615,703 out of 1.7 million registered voters, took part in the referendum.

The voters rejected amendments to raise the retirement age of judges on Liberia’s Supreme Court from 70 to 75; reduce residency requirements for presidential hopefuls from 10 to five years; allow legislators in bye-elections to win with a simple majority; and change the election date from the second Tuesday in October to the second Tuesday in November.

The Congress for Democratic Change party, led by George Weah, had called on its members to boycott the referendum and claimed victory today over the ruling Unity Party.

Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party said the referendum process is an unfamiliar concept for most Liberians and the presence of four ballot issues may have thrown off some voters.

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