By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-The Supreme Court of Liberia will today, April 4, 2023, entertain an argument into the petition filed by the Collaborating Political Parties against the National Election Commission (NEC) for failing to use the result of the 2022 Census to demarcate electoral districts.
The CPP, in its petition, before the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia, on Friday, March 17, 2023, flagged some critical National Issues bordering on the conduct of the October 10, 2023’s Presidential and Legislative Elections.
The party is challenging the action of the National Elections Commission to disregard the results of the 2022 Census, thereby proceeding with the Voter’s Registration Exercise without first demarcating the country.
Article 80 (C) of the Liberian Constitution states, “Every Liberian citizen shall have the right to be registered in a constituency and to vote in public elections only in the constituency where registered…”
The Article further states “a constituency shall have an approximately equal population of 20,000, or such number of citizens as the Legislature shall prescribe in keeping with population growth and movements as revealed by a national census; provided that the total number of electoral constituencies in the Republic shall not exceed one hundred.”
The CPP’s petition pinpointed legitimate concerns as to whether NEC is acting constitutionally to conduct Voters’ Registration, (VR) after the conduct of a national census, without the demarcation of constituencies by the Legislature.
CPP also cited Article 80 (E), stating that the Liberian Constitution provides that “immediately following a national census and before the next elections, the Elections Commission shall reapportion the constituencies in accordance with the new population’s figures so that every constituency shall have as close to the same population as possible; provided, however, that a constituency must be solely within a county.”
The CPP indicated that despite various public objections and outcries over the “unconstitutional delays” to conduct the census, and concerns surrounding the integrity of the results, the Liberian Government still went ahead to openly praise and welcome it.
According to the party, the changes in population challenged historical trends and represent massive and significant shifts in the growth and movements of the population and to do otherwise is to violate the Constitution, and thereby risk the constitutional integrity of the upcoming elections.
“We have, therefore, asked the Honorable Supreme Court to demand that NEC obeys the Constitution and be made to do so, in order to secure our elections and its processes under the authority of the same Liberian Constitution which created and authorized the powers of the NEC” they stated in their release.
CPP noted that it is not seeking the intervention of the court to delay these elections but stated: “We know that Liberians cannot wait to end their sufferings by decisively voting out and bringing to a democratic end the multiple failures in Leadership of the George Weah- Led Administration.”
CPP further mentioned that it cannot sit ably by and allow NEC to proceed unconstitutionally.
“All Liberians have the scars to show that when we allow ourselves to act outside the laws, we invite consequences that undermine the peace, security, and stability of the nation” the release added.
The CPP says it believes that it is absolutely important that Liberians are adequately represented in the government as the Constitution guarantees.
“This is only possible if constituencies are constitutionally demarcated and voters are then registered into those constituencies in which they can vote for their leaders and representatives. “We have a duty to ensure that we do the right things the right way, and the right way is in keeping with our laws.”