The plenary of the Senate yesterday unanimously voted and approved guidelines for the pending Senate leadership elections, in line with Senate Standing Rules 19, Section 3(F).
According to the first of five guidelines prepared by an Ad Hoc Committee set up recently, all duly seated Senators who apply to participate in the elections for Pro Tempore and Statutory (Leadership) Committees are eligible to contest any vacant leadership position in the Liberian Senate provided, however, that each intending Senator shall have the required three years for the post.
The five-member committee headed by the acting chair on Rules, Order & Administration Senator George T. Tengbeh stated in the guidelines, “Any Senator serving on the leadership of the Liberian Senate who makes an application for a vacant elective position shall be deemed to have resigned his/her chairmanship position.”
Generally, according to the guidelines, elections for all vacancies that may be created for chairpersons in the Leadership Committee shall be held within a week following the induction of the President Pro Tempore.
On the prescribed date for elections to leadership positions, aspirants for available positions shall be required to make a ten-minute presentation in the case of the President Pro Tempore and five minutes presentation in the case of a chairperson of a leadership committee to the plenary of the Liberian Senate, guidelines rule four stated.
The President Pro Tempore of the Senate is elected for a period of six years, while chairs of Leadership Committees are elected for three years; which also affects those appointed on non-leadership committees as chairs.
Of the three contenders for the position of Pro Tempore, only Senator Oscar Cooper is chairing a Standing Committee, which is Public Works; Senator Armah Zolu Jallah is Chairing the Leadership committee on Internal Affairs, Governance & Reconciliation, while Senator Joseph Nagbe chairs the Leadership Committee on Judiciary.
In the event that one of the two leadership committee chairs wins, his post will be out for grabs together with those of the Committee on Executive, vacated by former Senator Clarice Jah; the Committee on Rules, Order & Administration formerly chaired by ousted Bomi Senator Lahai G. Lansanah, and the prestigious Leadership committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, once occupied by former Lofa County Senator Sumo Kupee.
Members of the Ad Hoc Guidelines Committee include Senators Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Jewel Howard-Taylor, J. Gbleh-bo Brown, Matthew N. Jaye, and George T. Tengbeh.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the Senate plenary will by next week come out with a specific date for its leadership elections.