The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Senate Cites NEC Over Delay In Certificating Election Winners

By Bill W. Cooper
The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to appear before members of the Liberia Senate today, to explain reason as to why they should not be held in contempt for alleged delay in certificating winners of the just ended Special Senatorial Election.
The Liberian Senate took the decision to invite NEC during its 10th sitting of the of the 4th on Tuesday, January 16, based on a complaint by Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon in which he stated that the deliberate delay by NEC to certificate winners of the just ended election is grossly obstructing the function of that august body.
Among other things, Sen. Dillon stressed that the NEC’s alleged attitude to also delay in hearing elections dispute cases to enable winners to be certified in order to form a quorum for their day business, is a clear violation of Article 83 (c) and Article 33 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
Article 83 (c) states, “The returns of the elections, shall be declared by the Elections Commission not later than 15 days after the casting of ballots. Any party or candidate who complains about the manner in which the elections were conducted or who challenges the results thereof, shall, have the right to file a complaint with the Commission not later than seven days after the pronouncement of the results of the election.”
It also added, “The Elections Commission shall within 30 days of receipt of the complaint, conduct an impartial investigation and render a decision which may involve a dismissal of the complaint or a nullification of the election of a candidate.”
While Article 33 said, “A simple majority of each House shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a lower number may adjourn from day to day and compel attendance of absent members.”
However, the Montserrado County lawmaker noted that since the Special Senatorial Elections on Tuesday, December 8 of 2020, it has been over sixty days running and that the NEC is yet to adjudicate and certificate qualified winners, indicating, “This act by NEC is not only violating the constitution but also impeding our function as lawmakers.”
He added, “Distinguished colleagues, I think it is time that we make use of the constitution that gives us the right/power to hold any government officials or ordinary citizens under contempt for impeding the working of this body because the NEC’s behavior now seems to be deliberate.”
Sen. Dillon wondered, “For how long will it take the NEC to hear cases and certificate winners, or is it that they don’t want us to do our work in confines of the law? Colleagues, because of the NEC’s attitude, we are unable to form a quorum and carry out our legislative function and I think, this on part of the NEC, is a total disservice to the Liberian people.”
He alluded, “Distinguished colleagues, I think it is time that we act swiftly to ensure that the NEC appear before us to tell us their reason behind the continuous delay in certificating winners because if we fail to do the people’s job, any attempt to pass any law without our remaining colleagues, we will be acting unconstitutionally and in total disrespect of the law governing this country.”
It can be recalled that 15 Senators from the Liberia Senate, on Tuesday, December 8 of 2020, participated in in the just ended Special Senatorial Election conducted across the country. As it stands, only five out of the 15 senators declared winners have been certificated by the NEC on grounds that the remaining senators are still being held for alleged election frauds and irregularities observed during the process.

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