NEC Faces Another Lawsuit over Failure to Conduct By-election

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MONROVIA–The National Elections Commission (NEC) is facing another legal crisis as a result of failure to conduct by-elections within the ninety days period as required by the constitution of Liberia.

About three months ago the National Elections Commission (NEC) was notified by the Liberian Legislature about vacant seats in Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Bomi predicated upon the recent elections of representatives of these mentioned counties.

The Lawsuit was filed on June 2, 2021 by James Saybay, an Aspirant of District number two, Bong County against the National Elections Commission relying on Article 37of the constitution, which indicates that the Commission should conduct by-elections within ninety days after the declaration of the vacancy by the presiding officer of the House of Representatives.

Aspirant Saybay writ of mandamus is for the Supreme Court to compel the elections house to conduct these by-elections as stipulated.

Notwithstanding, from December 8, 2020 when the midterm Senatorial elections were held to the filing of this petition, that is May 31, 2021, about one hundred and fifty (154) days have expired, which is far above the 120 days required by law.

Yet, there is no showing of any evidence of attempts to conduct the necessary by-elections.

Saybay mentioned in his writ that the failure of NEC to conduct By-elections in time the mentioned district has unconstitutionally deprived petitioner and the people of district number two, Bong County the right to representation in the House of Representatives adding that said action violates Article 37 of the constitution.

The law states that,”In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, and expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a By-elections to be held.”

The petitioner maintained that pursuant to article 77(b) of the constitution, he and the citizens of district number two of Bong County have the right to participate freely in the democratic political process of the Republic and be represented in the national House of Representatives, and that Respondent (NEC) is under legal duty to ensure that petitioner and the citizens of the district to freely exercise this right.

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