Senate Passes Presidential Transition Act

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Members of the House prior to Executive Session

As House discusses bill in executive session for concurrence

Ahead of the Presidential Runoff with a new date yet to be announced by the National Elections Commission, the Liberian Senate has approved the 2017 Presidential Transition Act which is aimed at establishing arrangements or mechanisms for the proper management of the transfer of political power or administration from one democratically elected government to another.

According to the bill, there will be a Joint Presidential Transition Team, comprising of 15 persons responsible for the transitional period from the day of the declaration of the President-elect . Also in the law, there will be special services and facilities for former Presidents and Vice Presidents.

Some of the special services include security, equipped offices, including furniture, vehicles, budget allocation and provision for dependents.

The Presidential Transition Act of 2017 was approved last week and subsequently forwarded to the House of Representatives, which was placed on Tuesday, November 7’s agenda, marking the 67th Day Sitting of the 6th session of the House of Representatives.

Yesterday, members of the House of Representatives held an Executive Session, in which the Presidential Transition Bill and other issues were discussed, but the House has not come out with a concurrence decision.

The Senate approved the bill which was sponsored and resubmitted by River Gee Senator Conmany Wesseh, after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf withdrew the bill, arguing that the draft law was seen as prompting controversy and misunderstanding.

Senator Wesseh, in a telephone interview yesterday, said modifications were made to the bill, but he did not go into details.

In President Sirleaf’s letter to Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay, she said “I need neither protection nor personal support. I have served this country with patriotism, commitment, and integrity and I am convinced that my record of success will stand the test of time.”
Prior to withdrawing the Presidential Transition Bill, the President submitted the Presidential Transition Act to the Legislature on August 17.

According to the President, the aim of the bill is to set up a framework for the smooth transfer of political power and governance.

President Sirleaf’s letter said the bill will build a strong foundation and culture that would enhance a democratic value for sustainable peace, management, and regulation of the transfer of political power and consider other matters.

She said the proposed law when enacted, will continue the path of peaceful resolution, smooth transition of political power and governance, stability and a sustained democratic development.

President Sirleaf noted that her request comes against the background that other countries striving to consolidate and sustain their fledgling democracies incorporate provisions of impunity for former presidents and vice presidents to encourage outgoing leaders not to want to entrench and perpetuate themselves in office.

The letter concluded by calling on the lawmakers to use their wisdom to determine whether it will be deemed necessary that impunity provisions would contribute to the provision of a healthy, vibrant and irreversible path for Liberia.

Other bills from the Liberian Senate to the House which is also under discussion for passage including an Act to amend Chapter 88 Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Public Authorities Law Title 30, among others.

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