By Alloycious David
The Supreme Court OF Liberia has upheld the decision of the National Elections Commission (NEC), declaring Rep. Larry P. Younquoi winner of electoral district #8, Nimba County representative seat.
Younquoi, an incumbent lawmaker was not certificated by the National Elections Commission because his rival, Saye Mianah, challenged NEC’s Board of Commissioners’ decision at the Supreme Court.
The Board of Commissioners of NEC had differed with its Hearing Officer’s ruling that Mianah was the winner of the October 10, 2017 poll.
Hearing a complaint filed by Mianah, NEC’s hearing officer declared that Mianah was winner of the elections and that the automatic recount sanctioned by NEC in the district was unconstitutional.
However, the Supreme Court has ruled that the recount does not affect the simple majority Constitutional provision, because it is for verification purpose.
The Court, in its opinion read by Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie over the weekend said, it is not unconstitutional because recount is within the authority of NEC considering the slim vote margin.
The NEC carried out automatic recount in Nimba County District #8 in line with NEC’S 2005 Resolution because candidate Mianah obtained 19 votes over his closest rival, Rep. Younquoi.
The recount was commissioned and the two contending parties were represented by two representatives each.
During the recount process, some votes declared invalid were counted as valid votes in favors of either of the candidates with Younquoi obtaining the highest number, placing him ahead with 17 votes over his rival.
Mianah objected when Younquoi was announced winner days later and filed a complaint to NEC’s Hearing Officer who ruled in his favor.
But Younquoi run to the Board of Commissioners who differed with the ruling of its hearing officer on ground that he was not clothed with the authority to look at constitutional issues, causing Mianah to seek redress to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court further stated that Mianah did not protest the recount when it was ordered neither did he say his votes were taken from him during the recount.
“If he had won during the recount, he could not have brought this case before us,” the court said.