NEC’s Dilemma Ahead Of October Poll: As CPP Files Petition At Supreme Court

CPP Chair, Alexander Benedict Cummings

The opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) Friday, March 17, 2023 filed a petition before the full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia over concern about the constitutionality of the action of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct Voters Registration, after the conduct of a Census, but without constitutionally demarcating constituencies into which a voter is to be registered.

In a press statement signed by Secretary General Martin Kollah and issued today, March 17, the opposition party quoted Article 80 (c), “every Liberian citizen shall have the right to be registered in a constituency, and to vote in public elections only in the constituency where registered…”

According to (d) of the same Article, a constituency “shall have an approximately equal population of 20,000, or such number of citizens as the Legislature shall prescribe in keeping with population growth and movements as revealed by a national census; provided that the total number of electoral constituencies in the Republic shall not exceed one hundred.” At (e), the Constitution provides that “immediately following a national census and before the next elections, the Elections Commission shall reapportion the constituencies in accordance with the new population figures so that every constituency shall have as close to the same population as possible; provided, however, that a constituency must be solely within a county.”

The CPP said despite various public objections over the unconstitutional delays to conduct the census, and concerns around the integrity of the results, according to the Liberian Government, the census has been conducted. Although final results have not been announced, preliminary results, which were publicly announced, show changes in the growth and movements of the population. In some cases, the changes in population defy historical trends and represent massive and significant shifts in the growth and movements of the population.

“Therefore, the constitutional duty of the NEC is to proceed as the Constitution directs, and from which it has no authority to deviate. The CPP believes that to do otherwise is to violate the Constitution and thereby risks the constitutional integrity of the upcoming elections.

We have, therefore, asked the Honorable Supreme Court to demand that the NEC obeys the Constitution, and be made to do so, in order to secure our elections and its processes under the authority of the same Liberian Constitution which created and authorized the powers of the NEC.”

The CPP says it is not seeking the intervention of the court to delay the elections. “We know that Liberians cannot wait to end their sufferings by decisively voting out and bringing to a democratic end the multiple failures in leadership of the George Weah-led administration.  However, we must not permit violations to provisions of the Constitution relating to the elections, without acting to correct such violations. If we permit one violation, we risk permitting others, including the timely conduct of the elections.”

The opposition CPP stress that “To do nothing and allow the NEC to proceed unconstitutionally is harmful to our country and the Liberian people. All Liberians have the scars to show that when we allow ourselves to act outside the law, we invite consequences that undermine the peace, security and stability of the nation.”

Concluding, the CPP says it is of the belief that it is absolutely important that Liberians are adequately represented in their government as the Constitution grants unto them the right to be. It noted, “This is only possible if constituencies are constitutionally demarcated and voters are then registered into those constituencies in which they can vote for their leaders and representatives. We have a duty to ensure that we do the right things the right way, and the right way is in keeping with our laws.”

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