Fate of Nov. 7 Runoff to Be Decided Today

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Temple of Justice, seat of the Liberian Judiciary

A decision whether or not the November 7 runoff will go on as planned now rests with Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh, presiding chamber justice of the Supreme Court, who is expected to make the decision today.

Justice Ja’neh gave the assurance yesterday when he listened to legal arguments between the Liberty Party (LP) seeking cancellation of the result of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections due to alleged fraud and irregularities and the failure of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to hear its October 24 complaint.

However, the NEC also argued that it is mandated by the constitution to determine any complaint within 30 days, meaning it has the right to hear and decide the LP’s complaint of irregularities by November 23, by which time the runoff should have been concluded.

Immediately after the argument, Ja’neh told the gathering, dominated by partisans of the LP including its vice standard bearer Harrison Karnwea, that “Whether it warrants the issuance of the alternative writ of prohibition or not, you will hear from me today,” which was yesterday.

He added, “Because of the constitutional issues raised by the LP, the matter will go to the full beach of the Supreme Court (other judges) for determination.”

If Justice Ja’neh were to issue the writ today, it means that the NEC will have to suspend all activities leading to the conduct of the November 7 runoff, pending the intervention of the full bench of the Supreme Court, which decision may likely not give the electoral body the opportunity to conduct the runoff on Nov. 7.

During the argument, LP lawyer Hilton Powo said the NEC had refused to listen to their complaint but proceeded with the electoral process by printing ballot papers for the November 7 runoff, which means that their complaint will not be heard until the election is concluded.

Section 6.1 of the New Elections Law provides that “any political party or candidate who has justifiable reasons to believe that the elections were not impartially conducted and not in keeping with the elections law which resulted in his defeat or the defeat of a candidate shall have the right to file a complaint, and such complaint must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the results of the election.”

“We filed our complaint within the stipulated period of seven days and yet NEC is not doing anything to hear it; therefore, we asked the court to restrain the NEC from further conducting the electoral process, and be made to hear matters,” Powo emphasized.

In counterargument, NEC lawyer Musa Dean said they have not violated any provision of the constitution.

“They filed their complaint and we have 30 days from the date of the filing to make a determination of the matter; so, why would they want us not to follow the constitutional provision, which we are not prepared to do,” Cllr. Dean maintained.

Article 83 (c ) of the 1986 Constitution provides that “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.”

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Calling for the rerun of the Oct.10th election is a delayed-strategy that is going to cost money, time and frivolous lawsuits that would have negative consequences on Liberia’s peaceful change of government.

    There is no dispute by any party member concerning some irregularities and poor preparation in this Oct. 10th 2017 election. However, these irregularities and poor preparation by NEC were too minuscule to alter the results of the two leading contenders, Joe Boakai and George Weah, who are to face off in this pending run-off election scheduled for Nov. 7th.

    With the popularity of 5 or more candidates, it was mathematically impossible for one presidential candidate out of 20 presidential candidates that took part in this Oct. 10, 2017 election to gain 50% plus one vote to win in the first round. Therefore, calling for the rerun of the Oct. 10th election on the bases of fraud is a waste of money, time and could lead to countless lawsuits.

    Second, it is a waste of scare resources to nullify the Oct. 10th election results and re-run the entire election for 20 presidential candidates. This will not change the results for the first and second place contenders, (Joe Boakai and George Weah). They would still remain higher than the rest but below 50% thus leaving the rest in 3rd, 4th, 5th place and so on: to be dropped before the run-off. Then what is the purpose of rerunning the election only to come up with the same two presidential candidates left with the highest votes in the re-run election.

    Third, no matter how this election is re-run, Cllr. Charles Brumskine is still going to come out luckily in third place or fourth place in a re-run. That means it is a waste of time and money to continue to strategize in delaying a run-off election between the two leading candidates (Joe Boakai and George Weah).

    Finally the votes were too dispersed by the large number of presidential candidates (20) thus preventing a single candidate from obtaining 50% plus one vote in the first round. Because of this large dispersion of votes among so many presidential candidates, despite some minor irregularities and poor preparation, that is why the two top candidates are now in the run-off.

    Rerunning the election to please bruised egos will not be fair to the many candidates who accepted the results. This should be a clarion call to change the election laws that limit presidential candidates to the maximum of five candidates.

    This will save the country money, time, and the unnecessary legal maneuvering for public attention.

  2. What an “EASY CASE” to have the Supreme Court regain and restore its deserved reverence THE PUBLIC has for it (the Supreme Court) as the conscience of the nation!!!

    In other words, for Brumskine not to take into consideration the element of of “PUBLIC EXPECTATION” viz the determination of cases by the Supreme Court, hence he Brumskine believing the Supreme Court would rule in his favor, is simply delusional on the part of Brumskine.

    Also, for: the very Brumskine NOT TO:

    (1) REALIZE that it was because of him the same Brumskine´s irresponsible, diabolical, and lawbreaking behavior, unwarranted disrepute was brought upon the Supreme Court…a debacle which threatned law and order, is:

    (2) absolutely psychopathic on the part of Brumskine, and tantamount to taking the Supreme Court for granted; hence,

    (3) a latent contempt of the Supreme Court on the part of this serial loser and LAW-BREAKER!

  3. RODNEY CHESSON TOLD LIBERIANS EVER SINCE THAT THIS SUPREME COURT IS INCOMPETENT, USELESS, AND WILL DEFINITELY BE THE CAUSE OF VIOLENCE IN LIBERIA! WAIT, WATCH, AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES! AS WE SAY, “TIME WILL TELL!”

  4. Political Parties Refused to show up for the Youth Manifesto that was to be signed..

    Now tell me, if they can turn down a major decision made by the youth whom you all consider future leaders, again tell me if you are ready for a peaceful election.

  5. Hope the justices did not meet with Eleen Sirleaf before their deliberation, any verdict by them should be back by laws of both the election laws and the constitution.

  6. The power of executive control of this nation is at this very moment under the protectorate arms of the 57% registered voters brought forward after this administration which is expiring and exiting. Thus, the Supreme Court of Liberia is in closed door chambers at a final decision that effects the entire nation. This is a secret heritage that cannot be questioned until announced to the public. Neither the Legislature or Executive branches (the other two branches cannot at this time come near and should stay within their functions or branches). No one is allowed to the distance space of this Highest Court not with standing or otherwise until and after a peaceful election and inauguration therewith. The Silent majority is in control of executive affairs, therefore advise all Liberians and the public to stay calm peaceful, going about your own in peace while a new nation’s President is peacefully elected, stabilized and inaugurated for a prosperous Liberia.
    Gone to silence. Let the Republic of Liberia know.
    DO NOT REPLY THIS BOX.

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