MONROVIA –The supreme court late Wednesday cancelled a national referendum in which non-Liberian would be granted citizenship status, citing constitutional violations.
On December 8, Liberians are expected to vote in a midterm elections in which they would elect new senators and lawmakers at the sometime hold a referendum on the same day.
The high court granted a request filed by the Collaborating Political Parties-CPP, The Liberia National Bar Association and the Liberian Council Churches to place a halt to the process on grounds that it violated the constitution. The referendum was to be held alongside with the mid-term senatorial and representative election.
The court said the combination of the eight propositions into three categories violated article 92 of the constitution which states that each proposition be stated separately on a ballot paper to enable voter to vote .
The referendum to reduce the tenure of the president from six years to five years, representative from six years to five, senator from nine years to seven years and dual citizenship. “The president say vote yes,” a message from president George Weah on posters with his photo on read.
“To the mind of this court, this is a violation of the letters and intent of the constitution and the citizen’s right of choice. The court agrees with the petitioners that, should the first respondent-National Elections Commission, be permitted to print the ballot papers based upon the published official Gzzette, then and in that case, that will constitute proceeding by the wrong rule,” the court said in its ruling.
It can be recalled that the National legislature constitution with Article 92 of the Liberian constitution, adopted constitutional referrrendum to amend eight articles of the 1986 constitution.
But the Executive Branch of the government published an official Gazette on October 8, 2019 of Volumne xix. No 52 condensed the eight proposed amendments into three ballot measures; where the voters would either vote yes or no.
This was challenged by the CPP in its petition saying that it ran contrary to the supreme law of the land. “If more than one proposed amendment is to be voted upon in a referendum, they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote for or against them separately.”