Source: The Liberian Senate
The Liberian Senate has overwhelmingly approved three constitutional propositions, including dual citizenship, reduction of the tenures of the President, Vice President and the date for the holding of general elections in the country.
The three constitutional propositions are in accordance with Article 91 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
The three Legislative instruments have been sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
Article 91 of the Constitution states: “This Constitution may be amended whenever a proposal by either (1), two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature or (2), a petition submitted to the Legislature, by not fewer than 10,000 citizens, which receives the concurrence of two thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature, is ratified by two-thirds of the registered voters, voting in a referendum conducted by the Elections Commission not sooner than one year after the action of the Legislature.”
The dual citizenship clause (Article 28), is labeled Proposition 1; while the reduction of the tenure of President, Vice President and members of the Legislature (Articles 46, 47, 48, 49 & 50) is Proposition 2; and the date of elections (Article 83(a), and (c), Proposition 3.
The suggested amendment to Article 28 reads, “A natural born citizen of Liberia may hold the citizenship of another country, but shall not qualify for elected positions, and the following appointed positions: Chief Justice and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia; Cabinet Minister, a head of autonomous agency and non academic research scientific institution and ambassador.”
The Senate said Article 28 provides that any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of his or her birth, shall be a natural born citizen of Liberia; a natural born citizen’s right to citizenship of Liberia is inherent and inalienable; and no law shall be enacted or regulation promulgated which alienates or deprives a natural born citizen of Liberia his or her citizenship right is null and void.
Additionally, the proposed amendment indicates that a natural born citizen of Liberia may hold the citizenship of another country, but shall not qualify for elected positions and the following appointed positions: Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia; Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers; all heads of Autonomous Commissions, Agencies and Non-Academic/Research/Scientific Institutions and Ambassador.
The laws of Liberia provide that only Liberian citizens can own real property in the country, and the current 1973 Alien and Nationality Law as amended in 1974 through the Fourth Regular Session of the 44th Legislature strips natural born Liberians of their citizenship for assuming additional citizenship. This imposes legal restrictions on many Liberians by birth, who fled abroad due to wars and conflicts from investing in the country as they cannot own or inherit real property. It also stifles the participation of Diaspora Liberians in the re-construction and economic recovery of the land of our nativity. In addition, laws in Liberia do not allow a Liberian woman to pass on her citizenship to her child.
According to the Press and Public Affairs Department of the Liberian Senate, Members of the August Body said that voting for President, Vice President, Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the Second Tuesday in November of each election year.
The statement from the Senate Press and Public Affairs further noted that the Senate has agreed that the Elections Commission shall, within 15 days, be in receipt of a complaint, conduct an impartial investigation and render a decision, which may involve a dismissal of the complaint or a nullification of the election of a candidate and any political party or independent candidate affected by such decision shall, no later than in seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court.
The statement also revealed that the Senate has voted for the reduction of tenures of the President, Vice President, and members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of five years, while all Senators shall be elected for the term of seven years.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Pro Tempore of the Senate shall also be elected once every five years.
Once both Houses pass on these proposition as mentioned herein and approve by the President, than referendum is eminent.
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