Supreme Court’s Temporary Stay Order Halts Campaign Launch

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NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Browne Lansanah

The most publicized December 8 Special Senatorial Elections campaign launch, which was to take place over the weekend, suffered a setback due to a temporary stay order issued by the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Mrs. Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), over the weekend told journalists at a press conference held at the Commission’s headquarters in Sinkor that the declaration of the opening of the campaign was impossible on Saturday, October 10, as scheduled within the calendar of events leading to the conduct of the December 8 polls due to legal action before the Supreme Court.

“As per the election timeline, today, October 10 should have been the date to publish the final list of candidates to contest the 2020 December 8 Special Senatorial Election and declare campaign opened.

“However, yesterday [Friday, October 9] at 3:32 p.m., the Commission was served a Writ issued by the honorable Supreme Court of Liberia,” Madam Lansanah said.

She said the Court ordered that the NEC put a hold on all other activities, including the publication of the final list of candidates to contest the election, as well as the declaration of the opening of the campaign, pending the outcome of the hearing at the Supreme Court.

“In compliance with the Court’s order, the Commission will not publish the final list of candidates today. And without the publication of the final list of candidates, we cannot declare the campaign opened,” NEC chairperson told journalists.

The Supreme Court’s decision came as a result of a petition for a Writ of Mandamus filed by Mulbah S. Jackollie, an Aspirant for the December 8 elections, who was reportedly denied candidature by the NEC for reasons yet to be known, to contest for the Senate seat in Margibi County.

In addition to Senate aspirant Mulbah S. Jackollie, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) the most vocal opposition political alliance comprising four political parties, including the former ruling Unity Party (UP), recently filed a petition for a Writ of Mandamus demanding the National Elections Commission (NEC) to clean the final voter register roll (FRR) of 2017 which is still in use.

CPP, in their petition, also called on the Supreme Court to compel the National Elections Commission (NEC) to not combine the Montserrado District #9 and Sinoe County District #2 Representative by-elections respectively with the Special Senatorial Election scheduled to take place on December 8.

CPP also includes the Alternative National Congress (ANC), the Liberty Party (LP) and the All Liberian Party (ALP) all in addition to the former ruling UP.

Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh denied the CPP’s first petition for a stay order on all processes leading to the December 8 Special Senatorial Election, including the combination of  Montserrado District #9 and Sinoe District #2 Representative by-elections with the December 8 polls, but later on accepted the petition, coupled with aspirant Jackollie’s, and called on NEC to put a halt to all activities until there is a hearing and an outcome.

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