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Following legal argument, the Supreme Court of Liberia has reserved ruling in the Liberty Party petition seeking to prevent the National Elections Commission (NEC) from proceeding with the presidential run-off election scheduled for November 7, 2017.

On October 23, 2017, petitioners’ (Liberty Party) filed a complaint against the respondents (NEC) under the authority of article 83(c) of the Liberian constitution which states: “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 elections commission.”

“Also complaint must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the results of the elections; and pursuant to section 6.1 of the elections law of Liberia which states that any political party or candidate who has justifiable reasons to believe that the elections were not impartially conducted and not in keeping with the elections law, which resulted in his defeat or the defeat of a candidate shall have the right to file a complaint with the commission; such complaint must be filed not later than seven (7) days after the announcement of the results of the elections.”

This followed after legal argument between the Liberty Party versus the National Election Commission before the full bench at the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice on Friday informed both legal teams that the verdict will be announced Monday at the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Francis Korkpor noted that the Bench cannot determine the merits or de-merits of the case because the matter is still pending before the Board of the National Elections Commission which is yet to be determined by the commission.
He clarified that no election matter has come before the court but rather what is before that honorable court is a petition of prohibition to stop NEC from proceeding with the run-off election saying “after listening to the arguments, we will hang heads and give a decision in a soonest possible time.
“If NEC and its Board of commission delay with the case; they will not be truthful to this court and the nation because the court has to get out from NEC on the matter before proceeding; before it appears that the matter is before the court and it is delaying,” the chief Justice warmed.
The LP political leader Cllr. Charles Brumskine defended his party’s argument before the Full Bench while Cllr. Musa Dean represented the National Elections Commission.
Cllr. Brumskine stated severe reasons before the Full Bench why the petitioners’ petition should not be denied.
The LP standard bearer explained that the decision for the petition of prohibition is based on the delay by respondent (NEC) to due diligence to their “the 30 days period is in line with the seven days talked about in Article 83 (b) of the constitution and as such NEC can only proceed where there is no complaint before that body,” he argued.
Brumskine asserted that any attempt for NEC to precede with the run-off election it would render their case meaningless and deny them due process, something he observed is forbidden under the law and constitution of Liberia, as well as the Supreme Court has protested.
“You cannot condemn me and say come back let me hear you. You firstly have to hear me before coming up to condemn me.
Severe Liberians including partisans and supporters of Liberty Party were seen at the ground of the Supreme Court on Friday to witness the verdict by the court.
During the argument Justice Yuoh noted that the constitution provided time for announcing of result and a time for announcing of run-off, but question the legal counsel of NEC as to how they come up with announcing date for election results and run-off; but counsel Dean could not provide any answered to said question.
Justice Sie’ A’ Nyene Yuoh wondered why the board of commissioners at the national elections commission will announce run-off election without first announcing the results from the October 10 polls saying “so you people just sat down on your drawing board and calculated and came up to announce a run-off even if it is at the disadvantage of others.
Justice Yuoh maintained that the constitution says parties or candidates aggrieved should filed their complaint not later than 15 days after the announcement of election results but there is no provision in the constitution that mandate NEC to announce results and at the same time announce run-off therefore the announcing of the run-off election on the day of the final results was not necessary.
During the argument counselor Dean said the commission is working in a time firm as provided or mandated by the constitution and other laws surrounding the conduct of the elections; but justice Ja’neh intercepted noting that if the NEC is working in line with the constitution as claimed, than the date for the run-off election should have been on October 31, 2017 and not November 7, 2017 as was previously announced by the commission.
Dean affirmed that the election law of Liberia mandate aggrieved parties to file their complaints or grievances to the NEC and not the Supreme Court and prayed the court not to grand said petition.
Justice Philips banks wondered if the court does not looked into the matter and allow NEC to process with the election and one of the two candidates in the run-off wins and get certificated before looking into the matter and the petitioners become victorious what than would happened.
But counselor Dean said the commission will not certificate any of the two presidential candidates that will emerge winner in the run-off until the matter can be looked in and the honorable Court come up with its judgment.

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