Thursday, July 14, 2011

Liberia: Elections Tussle - Confusion over Referendum

The scheduled October elections could suffer another setback with information that the Civil Law Court may place a writ of injunctions on the impending referendum due to key electoral issues.

Mr. Simeon Freeman, leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) told a news conference on Wednesday that his party has petitioned the Civil Law Court to issue an injunction on the National elections Commission, stopping it from conducting the referendum.

Freeman's Lawyers site Article 91 which states:"This Constitution may be amended whenever a proposal by either (1) two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature or (2) a petition submitted to the Legislature, by not fewer than 10,000 citizens which receives the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature, is ratified by two-thirds of the registered voters, voting in a referendum conducted by the Elections Commission not sooner than one year after the action of the Legislature."

This portion of the constitution according to Freeman's Lawyers before the Civil law court was knowingly breached by the National Elections.Freeman's Lawyers also argued that NEC further violated the law by setting the end of campaign period to announce the results of the referendum, which they claim could put political parties in a difficult situation. In a twelve count petition the MPC Lawyers further contended that the pending referendum creates no leveled-playing field, and is therefore undemocratic.

However, contrary to earlier publication by some media houses that an injunction has been placed on the upcoming referendum, information reaching AEP from the NEC has revealed that, the Commision has no knowledge about the petition for an injunction against the holding of the planned referendum.


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