President Weah Issues Proclamation Extending Six Session of 54th Legislature
MONROVIA – President George Weah has issued a Proclamation calling for an extension of the Sixth Regular Session of the 54th Legislature. The regular session, which was originally scheduled to adjourn on July 21, 2023, will now be extended for one week until July 28, 2023.
The purpose of this extension is to allow the Legislature to discuss and act upon matters of national emergency and concern, according to a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Article 32(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia allows the President to take such action either on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House.
In this case, a Certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House was laid before the President on July 24, 2023, requesting the extension of the Sixth Regular Session for a week, starting from July 21, 2023, and ending on July 28, 2023. The reason cited for the extension is to enable the Legislature to address time-sensitive legislation and other matters related to national development, integrity, transparency, and accountability.
It can be recalled that this 54th Legislature passed a law that set the Legislature’s Second Constituency visit or break to begin no later than the third Friday of July each year and end on the second Friday of October each year.
Although the Legislature did not mention specific legislative matters they are expected to act on during this extension, they are expected to act on the draft recast budget that was controversially passed by the House of Representatives.
President Weah had requested the Legislature to pass the restated budget to the tune of US$759.4 million.
At first, the plenary of the House, in a unanimous vote, agreed not to deliberate the passage of the recast budget until the Office of the President had supplied each lawmaker a copy of the Budget in accordance with the law.
However, a week later, without confirming that the President adhered to their request, the lawmakers passed the budget. This decision sparked controversy as some lawmakers argued that it was passed clandestinely without the involvement of the majority members of the House. Therefore, they are calling for a thorough deliberation of the Budget before it is sent to the Senate for concurrence.
A late-night motion at the end of one of its secret sessions called for the decision to pass the budget to be upheld, but the transmission of the budget to the Senate be delayed until other “legislative matters” are settled.
However, after two secret sessions, the House is yet to state whether it has finally decided on these legislative matters.