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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Liberia Incoming President Risks Losing Control Over House’s Leadership

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By Festus Poquie

No much luck for incoming President Joseph Boakai as he fights frantically to keep hold of the legislature’s leadership with less than five days to the Speaker election in the House of Representatives.

In recent days Boakai has been banking on the prestige and influence of the presidency to lure elected lawmakers to pick his chosen candidate for the Speaker role in person of Montserrado County and Unity Party Representative Richard Nagbe Koung.

The feedback has been really terrible for the 79-year-old leader. Koung likability amongst peers is low with palpable distrust regarding ability to lead the lower chambers.

This has left soon-to-be President Boakai’s desire to control the House of Representatives in an indeterminate state as his man for the job struggles to garner the needed vote.

Boakai-backed Koung has about 28 Representatives supporting his bid while Grand Kru County and Coalition for Democratic Change Jonathan Fonati Koffa has about 41 House members resolved to elect him Speaker, according to verified Oracle News Daily sources.

The House of Representatives will transition into its 55th session on 15 January 2024.

Before its first sitting one of its 73 members must be elected by peers to take on the role of a Speaker to prepare for the inauguration of the new President.

Neither of the two main political parties –  the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and the opposition Unity Party enjoys the outright majority to control with commanding numerical strength.

This means the CDC or the UP cannot produce the Speaker on a standalone basis.

Official results from legislative elections held on Oct. 10 showed President George Weah’s CDC won 25 seats in the 73-member House of Representatives.

Incoming President Joseph Boakai’s Unity Party took 11 seats.

Independent candidates grabbed 19 seats while other parties won 18 seats.

Judging from the numbers and the complexity of the House’s chemistry in the context of its multiparty dimensional look, a candidate for officer of the Speaker must be a consensus leader who commands colleagues’ respect and trust.

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