By Abednego Davis and David S. Menjor
Liberty Party standard bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine who is seeking rerun of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections due to alleged irregularities and frauds said the action by his party is to clean up the electoral mess and correct the system.
Cllr. Brumskine, who represented his party in the arguments as to whether or not the Supreme Court should issue a writ of prohibition on the National Elections Commission (NEC) preventing the holding of the Nov. 7 runoff election, stated that his intention was not about winning or losing an election. “It is about proving it right that no good can come from out of evil,” he said.
He argued that if the runoff election is held without looking into his complaint, that would be a clear violation of the party’s constitutional right to a due process.
Therefore, he pleaded with the court to halt the runoff pending final determination of the merit and demerit of the complaint by the court.
In counter argument, NEC’s lead lawyer Frank Musa Dean asked the court to deny the LP complaint and give NEC the permission to conduct the Nov. 7 runoff election.
Cllr. Dean argued that NEC was investigating LP’s complaint as provided by Article 83 of the constitution which he said gives NEC 30 days to hear any complaint from the electoral process.
According to him, the 30 days will run up to Nov. 23, at which time the runoff election might have been held and a winner declared by NEC.
Article 83 on which NEC relied their argument states that:
(a) Voting for the President, Vice-President, members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year.
(b) All elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the second Tuesday following. The two candidates who received the greatest numbers of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the run off election.
(c) The returns of the elections shall be declared by the Elections Commission not later than fifteen days after the casting of ballots. Any party or candidate who complains about the manner in which the elections were conducted or who challenges the results thereof shall have the right to file a complaint with the Elections Commission. Such complaint must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the results of the elections.
The Elections Commission shall, within thirty days of receipt of the complaint, conduct an impartial investigation and render a decision which may involve a dismissal of the complaint or a nullification of the election of a candidate. Any political party or independent candidate affected by such decision shall not later than seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court.
The Elections Commission shall within seven days of receipt of the notice of appeal, forward all the records in the case to the Supreme Court, which not later than seven days thereafter, shall hear and make its determination. If the Supreme Court nullifies or sustains the nullification of the election of any candidate, for whatever reasons, the Elections commission shall within sixty days of the decision of the Court conduct new elections to fill the vacancy. If the court sustains the election of a candidate, the Elections Commission shall act to effectuate the mandate of the Court.
Meanwhile, ruling into the argument for the writ of prohibition was reserved for Monday Nov. 6.