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Liberia: Senate Passes Dual Citizenship Bill

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Monrovia – The Senate has kept a bill seeking to set aside 15 extra seats in the Senate exclusively for women and unanimously voted to approve the reduction of terms for the President, Vice President and members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; the dual citizenship clause; and the date for Presidential Election.

To some senators, exclusively allotting 15 seats in the Senate for women, will increase the already heavy financial burden of the Liberian government. Other senators have also asked for reports of best practices from other countries where such practices are occurring or have occurred so that they help to inform them of best practices to follow.

One senator, who could not hold back the way he feels about it is Senator Dallas Gweh of Rivercess County. According to him, any attempt to grant such requests to women will mean they will be creating an exclusive constituency in the Senate that could run against their interests on issues.

“Mr. Pro-Temp and colleagues, to do this that will mean, we are creating a body that could hold together on issues. Having 15 women plus what we already have could create a constituency in this Senate that will vote in unity on issues

The Senate, in keeping with coordination and law, forwarded the communication to the House of Representatives since September 24.

The three approved Senate’s propositions include The Dual Citizenship Clause (Article 28) — as Proposition 1; Reduction of Tenure of the President, Vice President, and members of the Legislature (Articles 46, 47, 48, 49 & 50) — Proposition 2; and the Date of Election (Article 83 (a) & (c) — as Proposition 3.

According to the Senate’s version, any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the person’s birth, shall be a natural-born citizen of Liberia; a natural-born citizen’s right to citizenship of Liberia is inherent and inalienable; no law shall be enacted or regulation promulgated which deprives a natural born of the Republic of his/her citizenship right; and any law or regulation which alienates or deprives a natural born of the Republic of his/her rights is null and void.

“A natural-born citizen of Liberia may hold the citizenship of another country but shall not qualify for elected positions and the following appointed positions: Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia; Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers; all heads of Autonomous Commissions, Agencies and Non-Academic/Research/Scientific Institutions and Ambassadors,” the Senate’s version said.

Also, the Senate has unanimously voted for the Reduction of Tenures of the President, Vice President and members of the Legislature to a term of five years, and all senators shall be elected for the term of seven years.

As for the change of the date of elections, voting for the President, Vice President, Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the Second Tuesday in November of each election year.

And also, the Senate has agreed that the National Elections Commission shall, within 15 days of receipt of a complaint, conduct an impartial investigation and render a decision which may involve a dismissal of the complaint or a nullification of the election of a candidate. Any political party or independent candidate affected by such a decision shall not later than seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court.

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