House solicits signatures to approve resolution on the bill of referendum
After two years of consultations, debates and retreats, the Lower House is soliciting signatures for two-third of its members (constituting 48 persons) to approve the “Resolution on the Bill of Referendum” for subsequent transmission to the Senate to set the agenda for the referendum. Upon the agreement of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the House of Representatives and Senate, the Bill of Referendum will be submitted to the National Elections Commission (NEC).
Yesterday, in his Capitol Hill office, the chairman of the committee on Good Governance & Government Reform, Nimba County District # 8 Representative Larry Younquoi told scores of journalists that as of tomorrow, Thursday, August 17, the chief clerk is expected to solicit signatures from lawmakers; and thereafter, forward it to the Senate for concurrence. Rep. Younquoi said the Legislature has resolved to approve the “Bill of Referendum” before their last break on August 30. The decision was reached in an Executive Session on Tuesday, August 15, wherein the House Plenary finally and unanimously mandated chief clerk Mildred Sayon to prepare the “Resolution for the Bill of Referendum” for at least 48 Representatives to affix their signatures to it.
It may be recalled that on August 13, 2015, President Sirleaf wrote the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives (in session) and submitted 25 propositions from the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) for prompt Legislative action in line with Article 91 of the 1986 Constitution. The President’s letter on the referendum was sent to the Joint Committee on Good Governance & Government Reform and Elections & Inauguration. Members of the House will act on several propositions on Thursday, August 17 during the fourth day sitting of the Second Extraordinary Session, based on a report from the Joint Committee on Good Governance and Governance Reform, Judiciary and Elections and Inauguration.
Meanwhile, the House Plenary also acted on several proposals as the Agenda for Referendum for the constitutional amendments. The agenda includes the reduction in the presidential and legislative tenures from six to four years and from nine (9) to six years, respectively. The propositions are to reduce the tenures of the President, Vice President and Representatives from six to four years while the term of Senators is to be trimmed down from nine years to six years. The reduction in the tenure of the president and legislators is one of the several propositions recommended by the Constitutional Review Committee for a referendum. Others are affirmative action, which calls for a proportional representation for the physically challenged, women and youth, and the election of city mayors.