– President Sirleaf Approves
The Senate and the House of Representatives – the 53rd Legislature – has canceled their annual break, which should have started on Thursday, August 31, and ending on the second working Monday in January (January 8, 2018). The Daily Observer has learned that 21 Senators and 29 Representatives have already signed the Certificate of Extension for the Regular Sitting of the 6th Session, from September 1 to December 31.
Article 32b of the 1986 Constitution says at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, can extend a regular session of the Legislature beyond the date for adjournment. The Daily Observer gathered on Tuesday, August 29, that the Certificate of Extension was approved by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Fear over National Crisis
It has also been gathered that the Senate and the House have extended their work up to December 31 to stick around to deal with any political or national crisis that may erupt. The lawmakers are said to believe that their “Sitting” would help to guide the first elected democratic transition since 1944 (from one elected government to another) amid fears of looming disagreements among political parties during the electoral campaigns, and threats of bitterly divisive presidential elections.
Check and Balances
Besides, the issues of national concerns and emergencies, the Legislature has to be seated for the purpose of Checks and Balances during the period of transition. Some members of the House told the Daily Observer exclusively that the separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as “checks and balances” among the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches of government.