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Election hearing ends in deadlock

A Senate public hearing aimed at getting update on the scheduled December 26 presidential runoff from the National Elections Commission (NEC’s) Board of Commissioners ended in deadlock Tuesday, 19 December at the Plenary.


Senators up Capitol Hill went at loggerhead during heated argument at the public hearing. The ruling Unity Party (UP) and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are due to meet at a presidential runoff election scheduled by the NEC for 26 December.

Some Senators argued that NEC was proceeding wrongly by setting date for the runoff election, insisting that such responsibility squarely rests at the feet of the Liberian Legislature.

But others argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling instructed NEC to set date for the runoff, but in conferment of the 1986 Liberian Constitution. Following deliberations by NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya in which he provided update regarding the cleaning up of the Final Registration Roll (FRR), Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipee made a motion that the Senate’s standing committee should work alongside with NEC to ensure full implementation of the proceedings as mandated by the high court.

But Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, with Monte Crispo (cigars) between his fingers, shouted that the runoff be postponed to a later date. Noise intensified at the hearing to the point that the presiding officer Pro Tempore Armah Jallah lost [control] of the process. It took Grand Gedeh County Senator Alphonso Gaye to make another motion that the hearing be continued for tomorrow, Thursday, 21 December.

On December 12, the Liberian Senate summoned the NEC, including its chairman Cllr. Korkoya to provide update on how it intends to fix the problems associated with the runoff election as contained in the modification of the Supreme Court’s Opinion.

The communication, which came from Lofa County Senator Stephen J. H. Zargo notes that the Supreme Court on Thursday, December 7, 2017 came down with its opinion, upholding the ruling of the Commission in the Liberty Party, Unity Party vs. the NEC prohibition case.

The Supreme Court mandated the NEC fix the problems that occasioned the bringing of appeal before it.

In the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the decision earlier taken by NEC, there are modifications to the effect of publishing and making available the Final Registration Role (FRR) to all electoral magistrates for subsequent display at all polling places across the country.

It calls for the cleaning up of the FRR, wherein persons whose names were not on same should not be allowed to vote; and that the addendum to the FRR be limited to those within the NEC polling and counting manual, among others.

By Bridgett Milton–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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