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Ousted Liberian Speaker Fights Removal

Ousted Liberian House Speaker Edwin Snowe is fighting back, saying he remains in charge after being dismissed for ignoring rules and meddling in foreign diplomacy. Snowe said opponents did not follow proper guidelines when they voted him out. A spokesman for Snowe says the speaker plans to take legal action against his accusers. Kari Barber reports from our West Africa bureau in Dakar.

Edwin Snowe was removed as Liberia's house speaker Thursday by a majority vote during a meeting in a suburb of Liberia's capital.

Parliament members cited Snowe's meeting with Taiwanese officials last year, which they say threatened to undermine Liberia's relationship with China. They also said Snowe had broken travel rules and was unfit to be speaker.

Snowe has refused the dismissal and called for an investigation saying the vote should have taken place in the house of representatives building.

Those who voted him out say the parliament building is under repair, which is why they had to meet in another location.

He also says he suspects members accepted bribes and believes President Ellen Johson-Sirleaf, with whom he has had numerous disputes, is behind his ousting.

Director of press for the house, James Jensen, says Snowe is preparing to take his complaints to the Supreme Court next week.

"He will take this issue to the Supreme Court, and I am sure some legal minds in our country are now preparing legal documents to file that process," he said.

Jensen says he thinks opponents held the meeting away from the capital, because they were trying to make it more difficult for members who might support Snowe to attend.

Journalist and political analyst David Targbe says if the controversy drags on for long, it could stall the country's recovery after decades of civil war.

"This will be a serious problem of the government and this will also interfere with the regular functions of the legislature because there are a lot of things that the legislature has to do, most especially in the second year of the government," he said.

Snowe was a close ally of ex-President Charles Taylor who is in The Hague awaiting trial for charges of war crimes.