The Supreme Court of Liberia has declined to place a stay order that would prevent authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) from conducting a recount in electoral District # 8, Nimba County.
The stay order was requested for by Saye S. Mianah, one of eight representative candidates that contested for the District’s seat in the October 10 legislative election.
Preliminary results announced by NEC put the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) candidate ahead with 19 votes, 6,108 votes as opposed to incumbent lawmaker Larry Younquoi, who obtained 6,089.
However, Hon. Younquoi requested a recount, in line with the elections law that states, “Wherever the difference between the two leading candidates in a representative election is below 50 votes, the commissioner shall conduct an automatic recount of the result of the two candidates.”
It can be recalled that on October 19, 2017, NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya announced that representative result from District # 8, Nimba County could not be released because there is a difference of only 19 votes between the two leading Candidates.
Cllr. Korkoya said Bledor Flomo, a lower magistrate assigned to Nimba has been mandated to carry out a recount in Saclepea.
The representative candidate lawyer, Cooper Kruah accused the NEC of proceeding erroneously, by setting aside the results from October 10 poll and ordered a recount of the votes.
Cllr. Kruah argued that NEC proceeding contradicts Article 83 of the 1986 Constitution, which among other things provides: “All, except for President and Vice President, elections for public offices shall be determined by a simple majority of the valid votes cast in any elections.”
He further alleged that the recount that puts the incumbent lawmaker Younquoi in the lead with 17 votes ahead of Mianah, was conducted by NEC training officer Daniel Gegbeson, instead of Bledor Flomo, as earlier announced by NEC.
The representative hopeful, Mianah has since challenged the recount result, claiming that Gegbeson was not an electoral magistrate.
Mr. Mianah has also accused NEC of conducting an illegal recount outside of the District’s tally center, which contradicts the provision of the 2005 resolution.
Meanwhile, NEC says it cannot announce the results from the recount conducted without addressing some of the concerns raised by the parties.
A hearing scheduled for Friday, November 24 did not materialize because Cllr. Kruah requested the electoral body to suspend it, reason being that he had to attend the Annual Conference of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) in Gbarnga, Bong County.
But the NEC lead lawyer, Musa Dean has alleged that while they were waiting for a new date for the hearing, Cllr. Kruah filed his request for a stay order before the current Chamber Justice Ja’neh.
But in his ruling on Monday, November 27, 2017, Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh mandated Mr. Mianah’s lawyer to go back to the NEC and exhaust all legal remedies available to him at the electoral body.