Fourteen duly registered political parties here have opposed to the petition filed by the Movement for Progressive Change, National Democratic Coalition and other stakeholders against the conduct of the December 16 special senatorial elections.
The political parties, including the ruling Unity Party, Congress for Democratic Change, Alternative National Congress, Liberty Party, National Patriotic Party, and the Alliance for Peace and Democracy among others gathered in the conference room of the National Elections Commission on Monday, 1st December and expressed their disassociation from the lawsuit.
On November 28, 2014, the Supreme Court of Liberia issued a ‘Stay Order’ on the pending Special Senatorial Election. The Stay Order emanated from a petition filed by the MPC, NDC and others, who are contending that because the Ebola virus has not been totally eradicated here, the elections shouldn’t be held to avoid mass reinjection.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues on Monday afternoon in Monrovia, Alliance for Peace and Democracy Acting Chairman, Cllr. Joseph Jallah, said that their respective political parties have no part in the ‘unwarranted and unjustified’ action. “We are committed to the electoral process and wish to, once more reaffirm our support to the democratic tradition as expressed in the holding of free, fair, transparent and credible elections,” he said.
Cllr. Jallah said that they are of the firmest conviction that holding the Special Senatorial Election will prevent an even bigger constitutional crisis – when the tenure of 15 senators expires in January.
According to the acting chairman, who is also vying for the senatorial seat of Lofa County, besides, the petitioners’ call for a so-called sovereign national conference as a substitute for the Special Senatorial Election is ‘counter-productive and unacceptable and it has no legal basis’.
“We see no rationale for a national conference when, as a matter of fact, the people have spoken through their representatives in the legislature. Their voice was echoed loudly through a joint resolution of the Liberian Legislature, mandating the National Elections Commission to conduct the Special Senatorial Elections on December 16, 2014,” he added.
He noted that the lifting of the State of Emergency, which had prevented the holding of the elections on October 14, 2014, is sufficient proof that the atmosphere does exist now for holding the delayed elections.
“We cannot reverse the democratic process. All registered political parties, including two of the petitioners, NDC and MPC, participated fully in the consultations leading to the new date for the holding of the election. They do not represent the view of the majority of the political parties,” he stressed.
He added that while they do not question the wisdom of the Supreme Court, they will hasten to caution the highest court of the land against what seems to be an attempt by some unprepared individuals, the MPC and the NDC to drag the Supreme Court into what could be construed as interference with functions that the 1986 Constitution of Liberia has rightly assigned to the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
“The petitioners reference to the Ebola outbreak as a justification for cancelling the election is ‘illogical and baseless’. The facts available to us, suggest that this process can be conducted with adherence to safety measures provided by the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, the Ministry of Health and international partners to prevent the spread of Ebola,” he maintained.
Hearing into the Petition has been set for today, Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.