10 January 2018

Liberia: CDC, UP Agree to Share House Speaker, Deputy Speaker Positions

Monrovia — From all indications, the race for position of the Speaker of the 54th Legislature has narrowed down to two candidates - Dr. Bhofal Chambers of Maryland County and Hans Barchue who is an independent candidate from Grand Bassa County.

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 42 elected officials -- new and old from the Unity Party (UP) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) - signed a communiqué committing themselves to producing the next Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in keeping with Article 49 of the constitution.

Article 49 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, the Deputy Speaker and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of a two-thirds majority of the members of the House."

In their communiqué, the lawmakers agreed that the next Speaker will be produce by the CDC which has become the ruling party and the Unity Party who have become the new opposition party will produce the Deputy Speaker.

Their choices for those positions are Representative Bhofal Chambers (CDC-District 2 Maryland County) and Representative Prince Moye (UP-District 2 Bong County), respectively.

The two parties' decision, according to the communiqué, is because the two parties hold the highest number of elected lawmakers in the October 10, 2017 poll.

As it stands, Representatives Chambers and Moye will be contesting on a single ticket that was given birth to through CDC-UP collaboration against Rep. Barchue who is yet to publicly announce his deputy speaker.

Barchue has been working to build a bloc with newly elected lawmakers with an agreement that they will produce the next deputy speaker.

On Friday, January 5, Barchue with support from 21 elected lawmakers declared his intention to contest for the position of Speaker in the ensuing election expected shortly in order to fill the vacancy created in keeping with Article 49 of the Constitution.

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