S/Court hears CPP demarcation case today
Liberia’s Supreme Court is due to hear a petition requesting it to compel the National Elections Commission (NEC) to demarcate constituencies before conducting the ongoing Voter Registration exercise.
Last month, the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) filed a petition asking the court to address the constitutionality of the NEC’s conduct of Voter Registration without the demarcation of the constitutional electoral constituency following the conduct of the national census.
The nation’s highest court set 4 April 2023 as the date for the rival parties to engage in legal argument in the case at 10:00 a.m.
The Supreme Court wants the government through the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and the NEC to explain why it should not grant the CPP request.
The Court on Thursday, 23 March 2023 commanded its Marshall to notify the authorities to appear and file their returns on Wednesday, 29 March 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
“You are hereby commanded to notify the parties in the above-entitled cause of action or their legal representative (s) that the Honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia will hear argument in said cause on the 4th of April A.D. 2023 at the hour of 10:00 a.m., and that they are cited to be present for same,” the court said.
The Court ordered the appearance of the parties nearly a week after the CPP had filed its petition to compel the NEC to demarcate constituencies before conducting the ongoing Voter Registration exercise.
Made up of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Mr. Alexander B. Cummings and a faction of Liberty Party (LP), the opposition CPP accused the electoral house of attempting to conduct Voter Registration in the absence of demarcated electoral districts.
In the petition, it contended that following the conduct of the 2022 national census, demarcated electoral districts should reflect changes in the country’s population.
The CPP said its petition before the Supreme Court is not intended to delay the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
“The CPP is not seeking the intervention of the court to delay the elections,” it said.
“We know that Liberians cannot wait to end their sufferings by decisively voting out and bringing to a democratic end the multiple failures in [the] leadership of the George Weah-led administration,” it continued.
The CPP said like many Liberians, it is concerned about the constitutionality of the action of the NEC to conduct voter registration after the conduct of a census without constitutionally demarcating constituencies into which a voter is to be registered.
The lawsuit aims to prevent the electoral body from conducting voter registration in constituencies that have not been appropriately reapportioned to reflect population growth.
Liberia’s population, according to the provisional census results stands at 5.2 million, an increase of 50.4 percent when compared to when it was 3.5 million.
This represents a population gain of over 1.7 million people in the space of 14 years, with urban growth up by 52 percent and rural growth down by 48 percent.
However, the CPP alleges that if the NEC is allowed to proceed with the first phase of its nationwide voter registration exercise, without considering the census result, it would be a violation of Article 80 of the Constitution of Liberia.
“The CPP has filed a petition before the full bench of the Supreme Court concerning the constitutionality of the action of the National Elections Commission to conduct voters registration without constitutionally demarcating constituencies into which a voter is to be registered,” the CPP said.