After months of controversy and legal wrangling, the Liberian House of Representatives has a new speaker. He is Alex J.Tyler of the Liberia Action Party. He replaced former Speaker Edwin Snowe who resigned earlier this year after he was threatened with removal by his colleagues for allegedly bringing the House in disrepute. Snowe blamed the executive branch for bribing some legislators with $5,000 each to remove him.
Speaker Tyler said one of his leadership priorities is to bring about reconciliation in the House of Representatives.
“We hope to reconcile our colleagues and bring unity in the House again. Normally in a political theatre like the House, we always agree to disagree. But at the end of the day, we have to come together to do the work of the people. So I think that in the next couple of weeks or months, we can assure you the House will be together working for good of the Liberian people,” he said.
In announcing his resignation, former speaker Snowe accused the executive of bribing some legislators with $5,000 each to remove him. Speaker-elect Tyler said his leadership would work for consultation among the three branches of the government.
“I look forward to a cordial working relationship, the one that will uphold the tenets of democracy, the one that would coordinate, will collaborate and cooperate with each other as enshrined or embedded in our constitution, but however we will ensure that we will not pull from the separation of powers, to ensure that we have three distinct branches that will be independent of each other,” Tyler said.
Former Speaker Snowe, who since his resignation had been boycotting the legislature was said to have made a surprise appearance during the election. Speaker-elect Tyler said the House under his leadership will reach out to all members.
“We plan to reach to each and every member of the House. As a matter of fact, former speaker Snowe is still a member of the House of the Representatives. I think, as leaders, we are obligation to bring everybody on board, and Honorable Snowe is no exception,” he said.
Human rights advocate Melvin Page has reportedly filed a petition with the Liberian Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of Tyler’s election. According to Page, election of speaker and deputy speaker should take place once every six months.
Speaker-elect Tyler said he was not aware of any challenge to his election.