Liberian Parliament Endorses State of Emergency

The House of Representatives has concurred with the Executive branch of Government in instituting a State of Emergency as a result of the outbreak of the killer Ebola virus in the country.

The lawmakers made the concurrence Thursday after the reading of a communication from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addressed to Speaker J. Alexander Tyler, in which she officially informed the body about the institution of the State of Emergency.

According to the Liberia News Agency (LINA), President Sirleaf told the Legislators that the scope and scale of the epidemic, the virulence and deadliness of the virus, make it clear that the mission to contain the disease now exceeds the capacity and statutory responsibility of any one government ministry or agency.   

The Chief Executive also noted that the ramifications and consequences of the Ebola disease now constitute an unrest affecting the existence, security and well-being of Liberia, amounting to a clear and present danger.

Concluding, President Sirleaf stressed: “It is my hope that in the spirit of cooperation that exists amongst our three branches and the gravity of the situation at hand, the National Legislature will concur on the institution of this State of Emergency.”     

Following the reading of the communication, 38 lawmakers voted for the concurrence and four against with two abstentions after Montserrado County Representative, Edward Forh, made a motion for the House to see reason to immediately concur with the President considering the urgency of the issue.

After the voting process, Representative Thomas Fallah filed a motion for reconsideration on grounds that issues like the interest of health workers and civil servants, among others, were not addressed in the President’s letter.

Forh rejected Fallah’s motion for reconsideration, and restated his motion for concurrence, after which 40 voted in favor and three against and one abstention.

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