Supreme Court Delays Ruling in Writ of Prohibition Petition on Nov. 7 Runoff Election
Monrovia – The Supreme Court of Liberia has delayed ruling into the Writ of Prohibition on the November 7 Runoff Election till next Monday 10:00 A.M.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
According to Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, the Supreme Court will not determine the merit and demerit of the case as that would be the responsibility of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The Chief Justice said the case of electoral fraud and irregularities is still before the NEC and the Supreme Court would only get involved if there is an appeal to the Court after an appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners is denied.
He, however, noted that the Court’s role in this matter is determine whether or not to there is cause to order prohibition on the runoff election.
Representing the Liberty Party, its standard bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine said petition for the Writ of Prohibition on the runoff election was necessitated by the failure of the NEC to speedily look into its complaint of fraud and irregularities, instead the NEC announced and started preparations for the November 7 runoff election.
“The action taken by NEC not to investigate our complaint and to call for runoff election deprived us due process of law. If the runoff election can only be held if only there was no complaint filed against the election result,” Cllr. Brumskine said.
He contended the legal provisions that allow NEC to declare runoff election within two weeks after the announcement of the final results of the first round becomes inapplicable once there is a complaint filed.
Article 83c of the Constitution says, “Any party or candidate who complains about the manner in which the elections were conducted or who challenges the results thereof shall have the right to file a complaint with the Elections Commission. Such complaint must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the results of the elections.
“The Elections Commission shall, within thirty days of receipt of the 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 decision shall not later than seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court. The Elections Commission shall within seven days of receipt of the notice of appeal, forward all the records in the case to the Supreme Court, which not later than seven days thereafter, shall hear and make its determination.
“If the Supreme Court nullifies or sustains the nullification of the election of any candidate, for whatever reasons, the Elections commission shall within sixty days of the decision of the Court conduct new elections to fill the vacancy. If the court sustains the election of a candidate, the Elections Commission shall act to effectuate the mandate of the Court.”
According to Cllr. Brumskine, the Writ of Prohibition prayed for is not about losing or winning, “it is changing the system and protecting the dignity our country,” he said.
Brumskine prayed the Supreme Court to issue the preemptive writ of prohibition against the NEC to halt all election matters.
Appearing very confident after the hearing the Liberty Party standard bearer told reporters, “We had a very good case and we are waiting till Monday for the ruling”.
Arguing on behalf of the NEC, Cllr. Musa Dean said the Liberty Party’s complaint is still is an allegation and that the NEC is acting within the scope of the Constitution.
“Your Honor, this complaint is still at the level of allegation, it has not been proven. The Constitution requires that when a complaint it should be disposed of before coming to the attention of Supreme Court, but this was not done in this case and that every complaint must be absorbed at the level of the National Elections Commission,” Cllr. Dean averred.
He then prayed the Supreme Court not to grant the Writ of Prohibition sought by the Liberty Party.
Kennedy Yangian contributed to this story