Today, the ‘Daily Sessions’ of the 6th Session of the House of Representatives and the Senate will come to an eventual end, which also terminates the ‘Daily Sessions’ of the 53rd Legislature.
According to Rule 2 of the Rules and Procedures of the Legislature, Sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m respectively, at which time roll call and votes are taken. Mondays and Wednesdays are set aside for Committee meetings, with Fridays set aside for constituency business.
Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate should had their last Daily Sessions on Thursday, August 31, 2017, but President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued a Proclamation extending the 6th Session of the 53rd Legislature for a period of four months, beginning September 1 and ending on December 31.
Despite the end of the Daily Sessions, the 53rd Legislature will formally be dissolved on Monday, January 8, 2018, after six years since Monday, January 9, 2012, when a similar situation was experienced at the Legislature.
Similarly, the 54th Legislature will take seat on Monday, January 9, 2018, which is the second working Monday of the month. The 54th Legislature is expected to comprise 30 incumbents and 43 newly elected Representatives.
According to Article 32a of the 1986 Constitution and Rule 2.2 of the Rules and Procedures of both Houses, “The Legislature shall meet on the second working Monday of January…”
Speaker and President Pro Tempore Elections
With 11 days to the 54th Legislature, it is constitutionally required that upon their seating (Articles 47 and 49) the Senate shall elect the President Pro Tempore, while the House of Representatives shall elect a Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Both Houses must hold the election of their respective leaders before the third working Monday, during which day or prior to that, the President and Vice President shall, before executing duties assigned to their respective offices, take a solemn oath or affirmation in Joint Convention of both Houses, with the Speaker presiding.
Accordingly, the Speaker will call for a Special Session, wherein a motion will be raised and seconded to begin the Solemn Oath of the President and Vice President conducted by the Chief Justice; or wherein he or she is absent, the most senior Associate Justice, according to Article Article 53 of the constitution and the Rules and Regulations of the Legislature. The Legislature will adjourn immediately after the Solemn Oath, followed by the President’s inaugural address.
Inauguration Day: January 15?
In 2006, in line with the Article 50 of the Liberian Constitution, which says the President shall begin to hold office on the third working Monday of January in the year immediately following the elections, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated on the third working Monday – January 16, 2006, and January 16, 2012.
So it means, the inauguration of the 25th President will be held on or before Monday, January 15, 2018, in order to keep the Constitution inviolate.
Who will replace Nuquay?
The end of Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay’s tenure as House Speaker was known when he consented to serve as running mate to Vice President Joseph Boakai on the governing Unity Party ticket. For the past weeks, the representatives-elect have been campaigning for the speaker position, with seven of them so far expressing their intention to contest for the post.
They include the Deputy Speaker, Hans Barchue (Independent); Ways, Means and Finance Chairman, Prince Moye (UP); Cllr. Fonati Koffa (newly elected Representative – LP); Lawrence Morris (newly elected – Independent); and Johnson Gwaikolo (newly elected – Vision for Change).
Others are former chairman of the House’s National Defense Committee, Bhofal Chambers (CDC) and the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Thomas Fallah (CDC).
As for the election for President Pro Tempore, nobody has expressed interest to challenge Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Z. Jallah, the incumbent.