Lawmakers to Amend Constitution in 90 Days

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The House Joint Committee on Good Governance and Governance Reform, Judiciary and Election and Inauguration has set a timeframe of 90 days to amend the constitution for it to take effect as of the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

The House Joint Committee said it will submit its final report to Plenary (the highest decision making body) on or before Thursday, January 28, for approval and then submit it to the Senate for concurrence and to the President for approval.

The Committee stated that as part of its detailed plan to report to Plenary for approval, it will continue consultations on the approved propositions before the referendum on proposed changes to the constitution.

The chairman of the House Joint Committee, Rep. Larry Younquoi, made the announcement yesterday during a press conference in the House 1st floor conference room.

He indicated that a public hearing on the approved propositions of the 25 submitted by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) will begin today, January 21.

Though Younquoi didn’t name the invited experts, some mentioned certain political and legal experts, including Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe and Cllr. Nevada Ricks.

Rep. Younquoi said his committee will continue to create a level playing field that will afford pundits the opportunity to participate in the constitutional review process while it is still before the lawmaking body.

It may be recalled that in November 2015, 35 members of the Executive Committee of the House of Representatives at the end of a 5-day retreat on the propositions in Ganta, Nimba County, approved 10 propositions out of 25 submitted by the CRC for referendum.

According to reports, Proposition 24, which states that “Liberia should become a Christian nation,” was approved.

Others include Propositions 1 to 3, which reduce the tenure of Senators from nine to six years to be on par with six years for all elected officials in both the Executive and the Legislative Branches.

The lawmakers further agreed to put forth for referendum Propositions 6 and 7, which say persons of non-negro descent should not become citizens and dual citizenship should not be accepted in Liberia.

Proposition 18 which calls for women’s participation in governance and national affairs, and would have an affirmative clause or quota, was also endorsed,.

Proposition 20, stipulating that “Marriage age for girls should be 18 years,” has also been approved for referendum.

Meanwhile, according to the report, Proposition 19 states “the Constitution and all legal documents should carry the pronouns he/she” to promote gender equality.

The remaining propositions are on Statutes and Policies.

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