CDC Controls House Of Representatives -As UP Head Senates By: Julius Konton

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What appears to be the first political defeat for the incoming government has taken place at the National Legislature, following the defeat of the Unity Party’s Candidate, Richard Koon in the Speakership Election. According to a former lawmaker, the strategic position which was narrowly swept away from the incoming ruling establishment by a member of the Coalition for Democratic Change is a huge political blow to the Unity Party. However, others say the victory of Jonathan Fonati Koffa will represent a balance of power on Capitol Hill. The tense legislative election which also caught the attention of President- Elect Joseph Boakai, due to its strategic nature in decision making on  Capitol Hill, was characterized by claims and counterclaims ranging from buying of votes, constitutional crisis as well as citizenship legitimacy, among others. Moreover, President- Elect Boakai was at some point in time accused of influencing the process through financial means, a claim he has since denied. The political battle was competitive as the current Deputy Speaker won with five votes’ margin thus accumulating 36 to 31 votes respectively to be named as the Speaker of the 55th National Legislature.  The victory also shows the commitment of some lawmakers due to Koffa’s longstanding ties with his colleagues over the years on Capitol Hill.  Speaking to some office staffs, they explained that the election also shows that the incoming ruling party demonstrated some level of political strength evidence of the five votes’ margin and had they worked earlier than expected, the results would have been a different story. Koffa who is now the face of the 55th National Legislature and from the Coalition for Democratic Change has a major role to play in the upcoming government.  According to another staff on the grounds of the Capitol Building, the victory of Koffa is a political consolation for the outgoing government that is still nursing its defeat having lost the Presidential Runoff election as a sitting government to President- Elect  with over 20,000 votes’ margin. Political pundits at the same time stressed that the defeat of Koon from the Unity Party is a defeat for Boakai that will serve as a headache for him on Capitol Hill. “Winning the Speakership Election as an incoming opposition lawmaker means that major House Standing  Committee’s positions will go in the favor of opposition lawmakers,  a big challenge for the incoming ruling Unity Party”, said another House staffer.It can be recalled that prior to the Speakership Election Koffa has repeatedly promised to have a total reform at the House of Representatives including rebranding the loss image as perceived by the public. As the Speakership dust has finally settled following a new speaker from South Eastern Liberia, Grand Kru County, the next political battle will be the election and selection of Committee’s members who are also expected to play a key role in the leadership structure of the House as well as cardinal decision making. Meanwhile, the victory of Kofffa as Speaker of the 55th National Legislature also suggests that the opposition has the numerical advantage which serves as a key determining factor for decision making in plenary.  Elsewhere at the Liberian Senate, Unity Party Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence won the Pro-Temp election unopposed after her kinsman and colleague, former Pro-Temp Gbezohngar Milton Findley pulled out at the last minute. New Leadership of the Liberian Senate for the 55th Legislature The appointment made by the Pro-Tempore Lawrence follows her election victory at the Capitol Building on white ballot after her colleagues and kinsman Findley declined.  Pro-Tempore Lawrence who is the second female Pro-Tempore at the Liberian Senate, following her election victory hours later announced fourteen members’ leadership of the Senate. Those appointed by the new Pro-Tempore include: Chair on Executive: James Biney (Maryland), Chair on Foreign Affairs: Abraham Dillon (Montserrado), Chair on Public Works: Albert Chie (Grand Kru), Chair on Judiciary: Augustine Chea (Sinoe), Chair on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget: Prince Moye (Bong), Chair on Defense and Security: Momo Cyrus (Lofa) , Chair on Rules, Order and Administration: Gbleh-bo Brown ( Maryland), and Chair on Education: Nathaniel Mcgill (Margibi). Others include, Chair on Health: Daba Varpilar (Cape Mount), Chair on Internal Affairs: Prince Johnson (Nimba), Chair on Public Account: Amara Konneh (Gbarpolu) , Senate Representatives to ECOWAS: Edwin Snowe and Alex Tyler (Both of Bomi), and International Parliamentary Union: Francis Dopoe (River Gee) Crayton Duncan (Sinoe County respectively)

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