Liberia's Supreme Court Declares All Senatorial Seats Vacant

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 12, 2003

The Supreme Court of Liberia has declared all senatorial seats vacant in the forthcoming general and presidential elections.

The decision was contained in the court's ruling into a petition filed with it by some members of the incumbent Liberian Senate against the Elections Commission of Liberia.

Bong County senator, Cllr. Francis Garlawulo on behalf of himself and other colleagues, filed the petition of prohibition against the Elections Commission (ECOM) on grounds that the commission has declared their positions vacant for the pending elections when they are entitled to stay in office for nine years instead of six.

The senators contended in their petition that in keeping with the Liberian constitution, they are entitled to stay in office for nine years and as such, the pronouncement by the ECOM to declare the positions vacant was in total violation of the Liberian constitution.

But the Elections Commission through its legal counsel, resisted the petitioners* petition, stressing that all senatorial would be vacant after the period of six years from 1997 to 2003.

However, in its ruling on the matter on Friday, when it handed down advanced opinions and rulings into about eight separate cases, the Supreme Court declared all senatorial seats vacant for the upcoming elections.

The court said the elections of 1997 that brought the senators to power, was held under a special arrangement.

The court added that because the elections were held under a special arrangement, none of the incumbent members of the senate, was voted for by his people.

The Supreme Court also said in the ruling, that the Senators were rather selected by their political parties and not their people as it should have been under the Liberian constitution.

Accordingly, the court said all the Senatorial seats are vacant and is subject to be contested for in the upcoming elections this year.

The latest ruling from the Supreme Court, has laid to rest claims and counterclaims in many quarters over the issue of the nine years Senatorial tenure.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.