By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia’s main opposition Unity Party (UP) has dragged the National Elections Commission (NEC) to the Supreme Court, demanding publication of the final registration roll (FRR) ahead of the 10 October 2023 elections.
Through a petition for a writ of mandamus, the former ruling party headed by former vice president Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai, wants the Court to order the NEC to publish and distribute the FRR.
In the petition filed Tuesday, 26 September 2023, the UP lamented that the NEC has failed to publish the FRR as the law requires.
UP wants the court to order the NEC to show cause why it has failed to publish the FRR in keeping with the law.
The opposition party noted that consistent with the duty devoted to the NEC by the New Elections Law and the Supreme Court’s opinion, the NEC is mandated to publish and submit to political parties and independent candidates copies of the FRR of all registered voters disaggregated by location in every electoral district in the country.
The UP argued that consistent with the 2023 Voter Registration Regulations, FRR means a list of registered voters who are qualified to vote that is produced following exhibition and decision on voter appeals, claims, challenges, and required changes to the provisional registration roll.
The opposition party therefore asked the Supreme Court to issue the alternative writ of mandamus against the NEC ordering it to appeal and show cause why the mandatory writ of mandamus should not be issued against it to publish and issue the FRR.
The UP requested the court to issue a peremptory writ requesting the NEC to produce, publish, and distribute or issue the FRR in keeping with the law.
“On August 29, 2023, the NEC chairperson appeared at the House of Senate under oath and faithfully promised to provide the FRR on the 18 of September 2023,” the UP explained.
“The NEC has failed to live up to its statutory responsibility for which they are under oath,” the opposition party complained.
The UP noted that the FRR is the only electoral document that speaks to the eligibility of voters.
It contended that the NEC is prohibited from permitting anyone whose name is not found on the FRR to vote.
Further, the opposition party stated in its writ that pool watchers who are not registered at their places of assignment and whose names are not on the FRR should not be allowed to vote.-Edited by Winston W. Parley