House to Recieve NEC’s By-elections Budget in Secret Session

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Members of the House of Representatives take a vote.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 2, unanimously endorsed a communication from Cllr. Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC), seeking an audience to provide information, especially the budget for the implementation of notices to fill three vacancies.

The House voted to have an executive (secret) session with the NEC’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, March 9, on the by-elections in Bong County District #2, Grand Gedeh County District #1 and Bomi County District #1, respectively.

The motion to accept a discussion for the March 9 Executive Session with the NEC was made by Bong County District #6 Representive Moima Briggs-Mensah, and amended by Representive Dixon Seeboe of Montserrado County District #16.

NEC’s communication to the Lawmakers followed a communication received from the House of Representatives as an official notification of vacancies created by the elections of Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Jr. of Bomi County District #1 and Rep. Zoe E. Pennue of Grand Gedeh County District #1 respectively in compliance with Article 37 of the Constitution.

Article 37 says: “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.”

Previously, the House wrote NEC on the vacancy created by the election of Rep. Prince K. Moye of District #2 to the Senate, for which the NEC, about a week ago, submitted a budget of US$455,892.12 to the House of Representatives for approval.

Political commentators believed that with a single district by-elections budget being US$455,892.12, the budget for the three by-elections in Bong, Bomi and Grand Gedeh Counties may well exceed US$1.2 million.

Political commentators furthered that with the negative publicity of a district’s budget in the tone of US$455,892.12, the discussion of NEC won’t only be the submission of three by-elections budgets; the NEC will also be defending her budget knowing that all bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. 

Up to present, there are five vacancies announced by the House of Representatives, which are Montserrado County District #9, Sinoe County District #2, Bong County District #2, Grand Gedeh County District #1 and Bomi County District #1 respectively.

Two by-elections were held in Montserrado County District #9 and Sinoe County District #2 respectively on December 8, 2020, but the outcomes are still in court owing to alleged electoral frauds.

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