MONROVIA, Montserrado â€“ Marylandâ€™s Representative Bhofal Chambers has been elected speaker of the House of Representatives as the 54th National Legislature formally took seat on Monday, January 15, 2018.
Chambers was elected by his colleagues on a white ballot after his lone contender, former Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, who had earlier declared his intention for the post, abandoned his quest just a day before the election.
Chambers is an executive committee member of the Coalition for Democratic Change. He was first elected in 2005 on the Unity Party ticket at a time when he was a staunch supporter of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He and Sirleaf fell out of favor in 2011 before he joined CDC.
The outgoing speaker, Emmanuel Nuquay, had handed over power hours before the new speaker was elected on Monday. Nuquay contested in the recent presidential election as running mate to Vice President Joseph Boakai, who was the Unity Partyâ€™s presidential candidate. The team lost to Senators George Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor of CDC.
Nuquay had replaced former Bomi representative, Alex Tyler, who was removed in 2016 after he recused himself from presiding over the House following his indictment for corruption.
Members of the House of Representatives also elected Rep. Prince Moye of Bong as deputy speaker. Moye won with 41 votes to 25 against Barchue, who was running for reelection.
Meanwhile, members of the Senate also elected Grand Kruâ€™s Sen. Albert Chie as president pro tempore. Chie was also elected on a white ballot. His choice for the position was driven by a consensus among members of the senate.
Grand Cape Mountâ€™s Sen. Edward Dagoseh disclosed that the Senate had set up a committee headed by Marylandâ€™s Sen. Dan Morias to vet a consensus candidate for the pro tempore position.
Dagoseh said the move was intended to ensure that the Senate sets an example by conducting a tension-free and less confrontational election. According to Dagoseh, the Senate need a people-centered leader.
â€œSomeone with credibility; a team player and someone that can manage people, because he or she would become the administrator of the Senate,â€ he said.