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Tyler abandons session

For the first time, embattled House Speaker J. Alex Tyler and his group of loyal lawmakers abandoned regular session Thursday, barely a day after the Supreme Court of Liberia declined to grant him a prohibition he had prayed for.

Reasons for his abandonment are yet unknown, but it is widely believed the Bomi County lawmaker could not raise the required number of representatives (37) to constitute a quorum as mandated by the Constitution of Liberia.

Already, the majority bloc headed by Deputy Speaker and Presiding Officer Hans Barchue generated the required 37 members of the House of Representatives and were present in the Joint Chambers to conduct normal legislative business.

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Apparently realizing members of the majority bloc are resolved in their call to stop him from presiding over session, while facing criminal trial, the embattled Speaker and few of his loyalties kept themselves in the conference room of the House for the entire day.

Despite the official chambers of the House remained closed, the majority bloc as usual conducted session in the William Richard Tolbert Joint Chambers, and came up with a motion, which was overwhelmingly voted for, to constitute itself into a committee headed by Margibi County Representative Emmanuel Nuquoi to begin hearings on the 2016/17 draft National Budget, currently before the House.

Members of the majority bloc want the budget passed before their constitutional break, which should have commenced on August 31. They also voted overwhelmingly for their colleagues that are with the embattled Speaker to report to work, meaning to join them in the joint chambers to continue regular legislative business.

Due to the budget hearings and other legislative matters left undone because of the internal fight, the majority bloc has extended its stay for one month in order to complete outstanding issues before going for annual constitutional break.

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Embattled Speaker Tyler had petitioned the Supreme Court, seeking a prohibition on grounds that lawmakers from the majority bloc have abandoned session, impeding the work of the first branch of the government. But Associate Justice in Chambers declined to grant said writ.

Also, the National Traditional Council of Liberia asked the embattled speaker to resign his post but the speaker in a defiant mood, asked the Council to put its house in order before commenting on crisis at the House.

However, Senate President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah has announced that the due to the mediatory role the Senate had sought to play, the upper House will not do business with either of the chambers to maintain neutrality.

On Thursday, some support staffs of the House of Representatives, including the Press and Public Affairs Department and the Protectorate Department headed by the Sergeant At-Arms, were seen playing their statutory roles during session.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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