The nominated members of the new Liberian parliament met for the first time in the capital, Monrovia, on Monday, one day ahead of the inauguration of a broad based two-year transitional government led by businessman Gyude Bryant.
The nominees to the 76-member parliament however met without 15 representatives of Liberia's counties after the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) chief mediator on the Liberian conflict, General Abdulsalami Abubakar rejected names of nominees from the counties.
General Abubakar told reporters in Monrovia that he rejected the 15 nominees after the two rebel groups - Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), raised objections.
"Those elections were exclusively conducted in Monrovia and not in the various counties. LURD and MODEL informed me that similar elections were carried out in those counties," the chief mediator said.
General Abubakar, who chaired the meetings, called for fresh elections in the 15 counties.
Under a peace agreement signed in Accra on 18 August, each of Liberia's 15 counties was provided a slot in the broad-based National Assembly. Other members of the assembly include representatives of the government, LURD, MODEL and political parties, civil society and interest groups.
However the affected nominees took exception to the mediator's position, arguing that their elections was conducted in Monrovia because of the prevailing insecurity in rural Liberia, caused by continuing fighting between government, LURD and MODEL.
After adjourning for lunch, the nominees were due to resume their meeting at 4:00pm to elect a speaker and deputy speaker.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on Monday paraded a convoy of more than 30-cars and armored tanks on the streets of Monrovia, amidst cheers by residents. Residents of the capital chanted, "We want UNMIL, We want peace, No more war" as the convoy drove through the eastern outskirts.
The UNMIL commander, General Daniel Opande, lauded the government and rebel leaders for making the capital Monrovia a weapons-free zone ahead of Tuesday inauguration of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the power-sharing transitional government.
UNMIL in statement on Sunday said General Opande met representatives of Liberian warring groups on Sunday to discuss security arrangements for Tuesday's inauguration of the transitional government of Liberia.
Bryant arrived in Monrovia from the Ghanaian capital, Accra, on Tuesday. He is due to take over from an interim government led by Moses Blah which has been in power since former President Charles Taylor resigned and went to exile in Nigeria on 11 August.
"General Opande expressed gratitude to the government and the LURD for their cooperation in making Monrovia, Bushrod Island and Paynesville a weapons-free zone," UNMIL said.
UNMIL said General Opande told the parties that UNMIL forces would continue to search for weapons in the areas identified. Weapons collected are being held under lock and key in containers provided by UNMIL."
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