Grudge from past presidential and general elections could be rocking the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) internally, judging from constituent party National Patriotic Party (NPP) Senator H. Dan Morias’ claim before court of CDC disregarding his re-election bid due to his alleged failure to support its 2017 presidential bid.
The CDC and Mr. Morias are before the Supreme Court of Liberia on an appeal filed against him on 16 September by the ruling party, asking the high court to reverse the National Elections Commission (NEC’s) decision that the legislative seat in Maryland County belongs to NPP.
The ruling party accuses Mr. Morias of operating against the coalition which comprises the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP) and NPP during the 2017 elections and allegedly continues to behave hostile toward the CDC legislative agenda in the Senate up to present.
In its appeal before the Supreme Court, the CDC claims that “the purported primary/selection” allegedly conducted by the Maryland and Gbarpolu Counties Chapters of the NPP is simply a facade intended to create disharmony within the coalition and mislead the NEC.
Despite Mr. Morias’ election in NPP’s Maryland County primary for the 8 December senatorial election, the CDC chose to elect a different senatorial candidate for the ruling party’s ticket, prompting the legal battle with Morias.
Having heard the internal disagreement between Morias and the CDC, the NEC ruled that the ruling party shall not conduct any primary for the senatorial seat in Maryland County, adding that right to nomination of a candidate to contest the senatorial seat in Maryland is reserved to the NPP.
But CDC contends that the decision of the NEC Hearing Officer was not in the right direction, claiming further that the NEC’s Board of Commissioners also turned blind eyes on this contention.
CDC concludes that Morias has no standing to sue CDC under the coalition agreement because he was not a party because he was elected to the Senate on NPP ticket in 2011 and that when the coalition agreement was negotiated and signed in 2016, he and few NPP members overtly declared their disagreement with it.
However, Senator H. Dan Morias informs the Supreme Court that in keeping with the NPP’s internal party rules, he participated in the senatorial primary by NPP’s Maryland Chapter on 18 June 2020 an emerged as the winner on NPP’s ticket and by operation of the coalition agreement on the coalition’s ticket.
Morias says the CDC insists that he is not entitled to benefit from the coalition agreement of the CDC due to his alleged failure to support the party’s 2017 presidential and general elections bid, thereby preferring to pick another senatorial candidate for the CDC’s ticket in Maryland.
According to Morias, an addendum to the formation agreement of the CDC which was executed states that elections of legislative candidates of the coalition shall conform to the provisions of Article 77(b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and other provisions relating to political parties and independent candidates.
Additionally, he says the addendum to the formation agreement of the CDC indicates that parties to the coalition which have seats in the legislature shall reserve the right of nomination to those seats.
In constituencies/counties where there is no incumbent coalition member, he argues that the document states that the legislative candidate in that constituency shall be selected by consensus or primaries where applicable.
Considering that NPP is the incumbent coalition member occupying the senatorial seat of Maryland County which is up for re-election on 8 December, Senator Morais says through a letter to NPP’s National Executive Committee expressed his intention to seek re-election on NPP’s ticket.
He says he participated in the senatorial primary in Maryland on 18 June and emerged as the winner of the primary to contest on NPP’s ticket and by operation of the coalition agreement, on the coalition’s ticket.
Notwithstanding, Morias says on 1 July, CDC issued and published what it referred to as “Guidelines for the 2020 Mid- Term Senatorial Elections” for all 15 counties, including Maryland County, when in fact, the incumbent coalition member NPP had already announced him as the candidate to contest the pending senatorial election following a primary.
Morias therefore requests the Supreme Court not to disturb the findings and decisions of the NEC Board of Commissioners on grounds that the ruling is based on the facts and the law.
He insists that NEC acted within the ambit of the law controlling administrative agencies, asking the court to deny and dismiss CDC’s appeal and affirm the decision of NEC’s Board of Commissioners.
By Winston W.Parley