The plenary of the House of Representatives is set to elect a new Speaker on tomorrow, Tuesday, 4 October after it voted overwhelmingly last Friday, eventually ousting criminally indicted Speaker Alex Tyler.
Though aspirants for the Speaker post are yet unknown, it is widely speculated that Presiding Officer and Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue and Margibi County Representative Emmanuel Nuquay are the contenders.
The two presumptive aspirants are reportedly discussing their intentions with their colleagues, but information gathered so far from the corridor of the Capitol Building suggests that the Margibi County lawmaker seem to be far ahead of the Deputy Speaker as it relates to winning the minds of his colleagues for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Congress for Democratic Change Legislative Chairman Thomas Fallah has already pledged his alliance with Rep. Nuquay, claiming that he’s taking about 15 lawmakers with him to the Nuquay’s camp, while the likes of Acarous Gray and Edwin Melvin Snowe have reportedly moved toward Nuquay, making the battle difficult for Deputy Speaker Barchue – the current Presiding Officer in the absence of former Speaker J. Alex Tyler.
The information further indicates that the Deputy Speaker still enjoys the support of his Grand Bassa and Rivercess colleagues, but signals are that if the variables remain constant, Barchue may receive a devastating shock in tomorrow’s election for the new Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Though the rules of the House do not suggest anything about resignation before contesting, Presiding Officer Barchue may likely not give out the post of Deputy Speaker ahead of the election in the wake of quarry from some of his colleagues during last Friday’s special session.
It may be an honorable thing for Hans Barchue to resign as Deputy Speaker to pursue his new ambition, but also dangerous for him if he did and not win. Barchue, who lately joined the fight for the removal of former Speaker Tyler, tried to convince his colleagues, but many think he’s a close ally of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Last week, the former speaker was removed from office by ’49’lawmakers thru a resolution. Tyler had accused the President of masterminded his removal thru financial inducement to majority of his colleagues, but the Executive Mansion here denies.
The action of the so-called ’49’ lawmakers was in keeping with Article49 of the Constitution of Liberia which provides the process through which the Speaker of that body can be removed.
Article 49 of the Liberian Constitution states: “The House of Representatives shall elect once every six years a Speaker who shall be the presiding officer of that body, a Deputy Speaker and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the House.
The Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of two-thirds majority of the members of the House.” The current House of Representatives has a total of 73 lawmakers and two-thirds of that number is 49.
Who replaces Tyler?