Liberia: Electoral Case Worries Senate

The Capitol Building houses the Liberian legislature
15 November 2017

The ongoing legal battle between the opposition Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine and co-complainants, and the National Elections Commission has led members of the Liberian Senate to converge at a local hotel in Herbal, Margibi County to brainstorm on how national security and the rule of law could be maintained despite the political rigmarole.

Speaking to this paper via mobile on Tuesday, November 14, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Senator Armah Jallah says the legal battle currently ongoing at the NEC involving the opposition Liberty Party and the ruling Unity Party on one hand, and the NEC board of commissioners is worrisome, and needs urgent attention.

Pro Tempore Jallah says the senate is keenly observing and praying that the matter would be resolved as soon as possible in order to avoid constitutional crisis.

According to him, the senate, which is the upper branch of the Liberian Legislature, is dedicated to the process of upholding the sanctity of the state and therefore, anticipates that the electoral exercise can end on a smooth note to ensure peaceful transition of political power to another elected administration.

Senator Jallah expresses high hope that the pending presidential run-off election between the governing Unity Party and the main opposition Coalition for Democratic Change can be held before January next year to avoid constitutional crisis.

When quizzed about probable formation of an interim government to lead the country to election, if the Sirleaf administration's tenure expired, he says members of the senate are not considering anything that looks like transition, interim or power sharing government, instead, the lawmakers are anticipating that the young democracy of Liberia can be jealously protected and cherished.

The two leading presidential candidates from the first round of elections, Senator George Manneh Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai, were set to participate in a runoff last week, but third-place finisher Charles Brumskine filed a legal challenge, alleging widespread fraud.

Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor says the electoral commission had acted "wrongly and illegally" in proceeding with the runoff, as there was still a complaint pending about the first round of polling in October thus, halting all electoral activities, including the runoff poll, pending full investigation into complaints before it.

Both Weah and Boakai are competing to replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping aside as constitutionally required after two terms in office. Her expires by January, 2018.

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