By: Frank P. Martin
MONROVIA: With barely 13 more days to the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, the opposition Unity Party (UP) has filed a Writ of Mandamus before the Supreme Court of Liberia for publication of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) for the October polls.
A Writ of Mandamus is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a court to any government subordinate court, corporate, or public authority, to do some specific act which that body is obliged under the law to do, and which is in the nature of public duty, and in certain cases one of a statutory duty.
According to the elections law of Liberia, the National Election Commission is to publish voter role within 30 days prior to election.
In its 13 Counts Writ of Mandamus, UP wants the Supreme Court to compel the NEC to perform its expected legal duties by placing the Final Voter Registration Roll of certified voters by location published and distributed for Political Parties and Independent Candidates and for legal reasons.
The Party’s Writ of Mandamus against the NEC is to also produce, publish, and distribute the Final Registration.
The legal challenge by the former ruling party is rooted in its belief that timely access to the roll is a key requirement that would ensure the credibility of the October 10 elections.
The electoral body which has, not committed to a specific date for the publication of the roll said it is working diligently towards making the list available in a secured format and available to all stakeholders as soon as possible.
The Unity Party and Montserrado County Senator Abraham Dillon have for the last few weeks protested that the NEC’s failure to provide access to the roll violates the principles of transparency and fairness that underpin democratic elections.
The Unity Part argues that without timely access to the crucial document, political parties would find it tough to adequately identify any irregularities or discrepancies in the roll and have them corrected.
Meanwhile, the National Election Commission is yet to issue a response to the Unity Party’s petition before the Supreme Court