Monrovia – The National Elections Commission (NEC) has called on the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal filed by Mr. Jeremiah Sulunteh, whose nomination to contest the October elections as vice presidential candidate on the ticket of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) was reject by the ANC.
The NEC made reference to the fact that Mr. Sulunteh, being a presidential appointee, served as Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States until his resignation in December 2016. This, according to the NEC, served as the basis for the rejection of his nomination.
Sulunteh had appealed to the Supreme Court to compel the NEC to rescind its decision to reject his nomination on ground that he did not desire or canvass to be Vice President on the ticket of the ANC until he was approached by Alexander Cummings, political leader of the ANC to be his running mate.
However, the NEC counter argued that Sulunteh has always had political intent, taking into consideration he contested as vice president on the ticket of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) in the 2005 elections.
“Appellant has always harbored a political desire; that he contested the 2005 General and Presidential Elections as Vice Presidential Candidate on the ticket of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) confirms this fact.
The Court is requested to take judicial notice of historical facts,” NEC stated.
Also countering Sulunteh’s argument that the Vice President position is not an elective position, the NEC referenced Article 51 of the of the 1986 Constitution states:
“There shall be a Vice President who shall assist the President in the discharge of his functions.
The Vice President shall be elected on the same political ticket and shall serve the same term as the President.”
NEC further stated: “There is no law, constitutional and/or statutory which provides that a presidential candidate shall nominate the Vice Presidential Candidate."
"That is why at the National Elections Commission, both the Presidential and the Vice Presidential candidates fill in and submit separate forms.
This is supported by Article 79 (e) of the 1986 Constitution which states:
“The constitution and rules of the political party shall conform to the provisions of this
Constitution, provide for democratic election of officers and/or governing body at least once every six years and ensure the election of officers from as many of the regions and ethnic groupings in the country as possible.”
Article 52 of the 1986 Constitution also provides that anyone who wants to be Vice President must meet the same qualification or eligibility criteria as the President.”
According to the NEC, there is no law for allows a presidential candidate to name a vice presidential candidate, noting the office of the vice presidential candidate should be open to all desiring to contest on the party’s ticket.
“This is why Appellant Sulunteh was elected at the Congress of the ANC in Kakata, in keeping with international democratic tenets, particularly the United States of America.
To accept the argument of desire will open a flood gate, because it is the practice for all candidates for the House of Representatives, the Senate, Vice President and President to be petitioned.”
The NEC has, therefore, requested the Supreme Court to dismiss Sulunteh’s appeal and confirm its decision on Sulunteh.