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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 18:13 GMT
Ex-Taylor ally sacked as speaker
Edwin Snowe
Mr Snowe was married to Charles Taylor's eldest daughter
Liberia's parliament speaker Edwin Snowe has been sacked after a vote of no-confidence by MPs.

They accuse the former son-in-law to ex-President Charles Taylor of breaking two parliamentary laws.

But Mr Snowe apologised to parliament for these two indiscretions last year and was pardoned by the chamber.

He told the BBC that he was consulting his lawyers as he suspected those who voted against him were bribed by the president's office, which it denied.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf came to power a year ago after a peace process that ended a brutal 14-year civil war.

Mr Taylor is awaiting trial by a UN-backed court in The Hague for alleged war crimes committed in Sierra Leone.

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The BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layle says Mr Snowe was removed from his post by 43 MPs after days of disarray in the 63-member chamber.

What is happening in the legislature is purely a legislative matter
Cyrus Badio
Presidential press secretary

Our correspondent says the position of speaker of the House of Representatives is seen as the third most powerful political post in the country.

The issue has been a major media talking point as Mr Snowe - a former president of the Liberian Football Association - enjoys considerable popularity, he says.

He was sacked for taking an interpreter on a trip without permission and meddling in Liberia's diplomatic policy on China - for which he apologised and received a parliamentary pardon.

Presidential Press Secretary Cyrus Badio has denied claims that Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf was behind the removal.

"What is happening in the legislature is purely a legislative matter," he said.

Mr Snowe is still under a UN travel ban - relaxed by parliament last year for him to travel to Qatar - as part of sanctions imposed on Mr Taylor's close associates in 2001.

He is accused by the UN of financing Mr Taylor's activities.


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