June 15, 2011
The National Elections Commission has described as a victory for the Liberian people and the electoral process yesterday’s final judgment of the Supreme Court dismissing the petition filed by the Liberty Party to put a stop to the delineation of electoral districts in the counties with smaller population.
According to a NEC release, the Supreme Court said the Commission was acting within its authority conferred on it by the 1986 Constitution and the Threshold Joint Resolution 002(2010) to reapportion electoral districts and accordingly lifted the Stay Order earlier placed on the NEC.
NEC says with the lifting of the Stay Order, it is now preparing to continue with the exercise of drawing the seventy-three (73) Electoral Districts as provided for by the Joint Resolution 002 of July 2010.
The NEC says it welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court, saying the decision of the highest court has saved the republic and its people from the likely consequences of a scheme to stall the electoral process by the introduction of groundless claims, especially when the legal foundation of the Commission’s action is eloquently articulated in the law.
The Commission says in the light of the Supreme Court ruling, it is pleased to inform the Liberian people that the NEC is recommencing the delineation of the 73 Electoral Districts and encourages all Liberians, international and other stakeholders to cooperate and assist in the process to ensure that it is carried out in a free fair and transparent manner.
It can be recalled that in early May 2011, the Liberty Party of Liberia (LPL) filed an 8-count Petition for the issuance of a Writ of Prohibition against the National Elections Commission (NEC) before the Justice Presiding in Chambers, who forwarded the matter to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
In its Petition, the Liberty Party argued that the National Elections Commission did not have the authority to reapportion the sixty-four (64) existing districts. Liberty Party further contended that only the nine (9) additional districts provided for in Threshold Joint Resolution 002(2010) passed by the National Legislature should be reapportioned by the NEC. Liberty Party also contended that NEC was proceeding by wrong rules in the reapportionment process.
In response, to the Liberty Party petition, the National Elections Commission filed an eighteen-count (18-Count) Returns arguing that it has the authority to reapportion all seventy-three (73) electoral districts, which include the existing 64 and the 9 additional districts. The National Elections Commission further argued in its Returns that the Writ of Prohibition would not lie because the reapportionment of the seventy-three (73) electoral districts is consistent with the Constitution and the Threshold Joint Resolution of July 2010.