Ellen in Desperate Talks on Capitol Hill

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At about 11:20 a.m. yesterday on the first floor of the House wing at the Capitol Building, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had what was described to the Daily Observer as a ‘desperate and unprecedented closed door meeting’ with the joint leadership of the Legislature.

The meeting was held a day after the House’s rejection of the President’s ‘comprehensive progress report’ on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and two days to the formal closure of the Extraordinary Session of the House.

The meeting also came in the wake of several bills that are languishing with the Legislature. They include the Land Authority Act, the Millennium Challenge Compact Act (MCC), the 2014 LNP Act and BIN Act, among others. President Sirleaf has compelled legislators not to honor their ‘constitutional or agricultural break’, in order to deal with the bills.

In an interview with reporters after the meeting on Capitol Hill, President Sirleaf said the meeting was “a consultation to drive the economy (in) the right direction.”

She told journalists that the resignation of House Speaker Alex Tyler from the governing Unity Party, is a “party’s thing.”

Though the President did not mention the rejection of her progress report on the implementation of the recommendation of the TRC for the establishment of an “Extraordinary War Crimes Court” and some of her proposed draft laws that are yet to be attended to, many political analysts said that the President’s assertion is sincerely true, because the ratification of those “bills” could boost the country’s economy.

They told the Daily Observer that the concurrence of the House of Representative on the US$256.7m MCC Grant Agreement between Liberia and the United States would provide electricity and construct and maintain roads across the country.

They, however, said that the rejection of the President’s progress report, as required by the implementation procedures on the recommendations of the June 30, 2009 Final Report of the TRC, “is a slap to the President’s ambition” to carry out the implementation of justice in the country as a requirement to her unconfirmed bid for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, it is expected today, the last day of the Legislature’s active work, for the representatives to concur with the Senate on the US$$256.7m MCC Grant and to also sign the Domestic Violence Act.

The Senate is also expected to sign the 2014 LNP and BIN Acts. What is not clear is whether the Senate will immediately concur with the House to ratify the Domestic Violence Act, and also if the House will do the same with the 2014 LNP Act and BIN Act.

However, many observers believe that there would be a separate and intensive leadership meeting at the Legislature, and fruitful results would cause an extension of the extraordinary sitting.

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