The Supreme Court of Liberia has again set Monday, December 8, 2014 to hear argument into the petition filed by some political parties and eminent citizens seeking the cancellation of the special senatorial election slated for December 16,2014.
The court had earlier set last Friday to hear the petition but was re-scheduled for today after one of the parties in the case failed to file his returns.
The Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), National Democratic Coalition (NDC) and eminent citizens including Blamo Nelson and former Information Minister Emmanuel Bowier filed the petition questioning the legality of the December 16 senatorial election.
The Supreme Court rescheduled the case for today after one of the lawyers representing the petitioners, Levila Supuwood, informed the court that they (petitioners) were unable to argue the case; therefore requested the court to allow him file his return on Monday, December 8.
Consequently, the court mandated Cllr. Supuwood to file his legal paper by Saturday, December 5.
It can be recalled that Justice-in-Chambers Philip A. Z. Banks on November 28, 2014 placed a stay order on all electoral activities as a result of a petition filed by some political parties and eminent citizens against the holding of the special senatorial election.
The stay order was imposed few days after the National Elections Commission (NEC) declared campaign and political activities opened.
However, few candidates were fortunate to have launched their campaign before the ban was imposed.
Liberian soccer icon George Weah, who's contesting the senatorial seat on the ticket of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), launched his campaign last Friday, the day the stay order was imposed.
The case is significant for several reasons: one, the Supreme Court would be setting a precedence, whether it rules or denies the petition; two, if the high court grants the petition, then there would be a possible constitutional crisis which could lead to the formation of an interim government.
However, political commentators say the court is the best institution to interpret the law regarding the fate of the election.
Today's hearing is expected to be attended by political parties' leaders, members of civil society and officials of the Johnson-Sirleaf administration, the media, as well as the petitioners and respondents.
The Justice and Public Interest Consortium Africa (JUPICA) filed a petition for a Writ of Prohibition before the Justice-in-Chambers of the Supreme Court of Liberia to halt the senatorial election, citing several constitutional breaches.
The Petitioners, Cllr. Syrenius Sayma Cephus and Atty. Edwin Martin, said the prohibition is the only remedy available to restrain and prohibit the respondents from proceeding with the conduct of a purported midterm senatorial election, which according to them, is a violation of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
Apart from the petition filed by Cllr. Cephus, the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) and a group calling itself Eminent Citizens, which comprises former Internal Affairs Minister Blamoh Nelson and former Information Minister Rev. Emmanuel Bowier et all, filed a separate prohibition requesting the court to restrain the conduct of the election until the constitutional issues are addressed.
Cllr. Cephus and Atty. Martin, who filed the petition on behalf of their organization, told the Justice-in-Chambers that the 1986 constitution neither provides for a mid-term election nor grants the first and second respondents (NEC) and Government of Liberia the authority or power to do so.