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” You are free to contest”, S/Court tells UP, nullifies CPP framework

By Lincoln G. Peters

The former ruling Unity Party (UP) has been told by the Supreme Court here that it is free to contest the postponed Lofa by-election declaring the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) framework document unconstitutional.

The superior court said the CPP framework document runs contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, its statutory laws and public policy and therefore is null and void, thereby reversing the April 25 ruling of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

The NEC on April 25 ruled affirming the decision of its hearing officer to stop UP from contesting the Lofa by-election, which had earlier been scheduled for May 10, until the Supreme Court’s verdict on the matter. The by-election was subsequently postponed indefinitely on May 6, just days before its conduct.

The Case grew out of a petition filed before NEC, by the remaining parties within the CPP led by Liberty Party embattled Chairman Musa Bility and the Alternative National Congress of former Coca Cola Executive Alexander B. Cummings. Both parties had sought to invoke a provision of CPP which bars member parties who withdraw from the collaboration from fielding candidates in their own names for an election period.

But handling down its opinion on the matter Friday, the full bench of the Supreme Court said the purported section 8.5 (2) of the framework document of the CPP prevents constituent parties of the CPP that had duly withdrawn from the said CPP from fielding candidate in an election violates Article 17 and 79 of the constitution of Liberia.

The court explained that the constitution of Liberia is the supreme and fundamental law of the land, and its provisions have binding force and effect on all authorities and persons throughout the republic.

The Superior Court further that any law, treaties, statutes, decrees and customs and regulations found to be inconsistent with it, to the extent of inconsistency, be void of no legal effect and must be so declared by the Supreme Court.

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Therefore, the court declares that the purported section 8.5(2) of the framework document of the CPP framework document is null and void ab initio saying, it manifests against the constitution, statutory, laws, and public policy of Liberia.

Although the Supreme Court noted that it acknowledges and subscribes to Article 25 of the constitution which adheres to the principle of sanctity of contract, it stated that where a contract violates the constitution or any statutory law, such contract has no sanctity to be upheld, protected or enforced.

 “Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the ruling of the officer which was confirmed by the board of Commissioners of the National Election Commission is hereby reversed,” Chief Justice Francis KorKpor said while reading the full bench opinion.

Chief Justice Korkpor further that the All-Liberian Party (ALP) and Unity Party (UP) having duly withdrawn from the CPP are free and at liberty to pursue any political interest in their names, including the fielding of candidates in the ensuing Lofa County Senatorial by-election, if they wish to do so.

He, thereafter, mandated the clerk of the Court to send a mandate to NEC informing that body of the court’s decision.

On whether NEC acted properly, Chief Justice Korkpor said the law grants power to declare rights, status and other legal relations as ascribed to courts of records within their respective jurisdiction and not to an administrative body such as the NEC.

Therefore, he concluded that the NEC acted properly when it declined to address the request contained in appellee’s letter of complaint as well as the appellee’s request for an advisory opinion. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/house-decides-new-date-for-lofa-by-election/-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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