LIBERIA: Group Petitions Supreme Court To Halt Senatorial Poll

A group of prominent Liberians and political parties has petitioned the Supreme Court of Liberia to stop the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Executive Branch from conducting the mid-term senatorial election scheduled for December 16, 2014.

In their petition filed Monday with the Justice in Chambers at the Supreme Court, Counsellor Philip Banks, the group claims that the holding of the election violates Articles 1 and 2 of the Liberian Constitution, and should not be allowed to take place.

According to the state-owned Liberia News Agency, the petitioners have asked Justice Banks to issue an Alternative Writ of Prohibition against the respondents to stop any further actions or proceedings regarding the election until the court can render a decision in the case.

Article 1 of the 1986 Constitution provides that “In order to ensure democratic government which responds to the wishes of the governed, the people shall have the right at such period, and in such manner as provided for under this Constitution to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections and appointments.”

The petitioners claim the Liberian people were not involved in the decision setting December 16 as the date of the election in question.

Article 2 states that “The Constitution is the supreme and fundamental law of Liberia and its provisions shall have binding force and effect on all authorities and persons throughout Liberia.”

The petitioners want the court to ensure that Article 2 of the constitution is enforced in this case.

When contacted, Supreme Court sources told LINA today that Justice Banks will meet with both parties later this week to examine the claims of the petitioners.

If he sees any merit in it, then he will forward the case to the full Bench which is clothed with the authority to issue a Writ of Prohibition to stop NEC from conducting the election if it agrees with the petitioners.

Sources told LINA that key persons and institutions among the petitioners are former Internal Affairs Minister Blamoh Nelson, former Information Minister Emmanuel Bowier, former Finance Minister Nathaniel Barnes, Mr. John Ballon, Mr. Milton Barnes, and the Movement for Progressive Change.

They are represented by Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus.

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