6 October 2011

Liberia: Elections 2011 Daily News Review-6th October

Photo: The New Dawn
The Surpreme Court of Liberia

Several of the newspapers this morning carry stories on the final ruling of the Supreme Court on the suit filed by the MPC in regards to the residency clause. The Analyst reports that, Supreme Court Clears Sirleaf, Brumskine, PYJ, Mayson and Others. The Supreme Court of Liberia ruled yesterday that UP's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, LP's Cllr. Charles Brumskine, NUDP's Prince Johnson, CDC's Cllr. Tubman, LTP's Rev. Kennedy Sandy, and the NDC's Dew Mayson, amongst others, are free to run for presidency this month. The High Court based its ruling on technical grounds, noting that while Article 52 (c), arguably forbids from running for president, Liberians who had not resided in the country for ten years, the framers of the constitution did not anticipate the intervening security situations, which led twice to the suspension of the constitution itself.

Petition Quashed is how the FrontPage Africa headlines its story. The paper writes that, the Supreme Court has finally dismissed the 17 count petition the Movement for Progressive Change, Simeon Freeman, filed against the participation of six of the sixteen political parties qualified to contest the pending presidential elections. The court in its ruling said, "this court holds that even if the acts of the various respondents, complained of by the petitioners, were based on a misreading or misinterpretation of Article 52c of the Constitution by the first respondent, that error can never be a basis for the preposterous and utterly illogical claim of treason."

Heritage newspaper reports that, Supreme Court Dismisses Request to Deny Several Presidential Candidates. The Supreme Court of Liberia on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 dismissed the writ of prohibition filed before it by the opposition Movement for Progressive Change, Abraham Massalay and Sekou Kromah, both of whom reside in the United States of America.The writ requested the Supreme Court to put hold to the candidacy of several presidential aspirants who were recently qualified by the National Elections Commission to contest the presidential and legislative elections slated for next Tuesday, October 11, 2011.

According to the News, Civil War Saves Ellen and Others because Residency Clause Means '10 Consecutive Years'. The paper writes that,the Supreme Court of Liberia has given its opinion on the controversial ten years residency clause, declaring that to qualify for future presidential elections, a Liberian citizen must live in the country ten years consecutively.The court adjudged that "for the purpose of eligibility, we hold that Article 52 (c ) of the 1986 constitution of Liberia requires that a Liberian citizen shall have been resident in the Republic of Liberia at least ten years immediately preceding the presidential election in which the candidate is competing".The constitutional court said the ten years residency clause cannot bar the president and the standard bearers of five opposition political parties because there were situations of war that forced them out of the country.

10 Year Clause Killed says the New Democrat. The controversial 10 year clause in the constitution, stipulating that presidential candidates must live in the country for 10 years prior to elections to be qualified for contesting the presidency, has been trashed. The Supreme Court, ending what has been an excruciating, political debate on the clause, on Wednesday took a unanimous decision on this issue which has dominated the elections, with opposition contenders insisting that the Constitution disqualifies the incumbent, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, along with five other presidential candidates from standing for elections, because they added, these politicians have not lived here for 10 years prior to this month's elections.

MPC's Prohibition Thrown out, the New Dawn reports. The Supreme Court of Liberia has dismissed a recent writ of prohibition filed by the Movement for Progressive Change of businessman Simeon Freeman, which sought the disqualification of six presidential candidates in the race, including the incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the leader of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change, Cllr. Winston Tubman. Handing down its opinion Wednesday at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, the Supreme Court told the petitioner that the National Elections Commission did not violate its authority by qualifying and certifying the parties' standard bearers to contest for the Presidency in the Tuesday, October 11, presidential and general elections.

Finally on the residency clause, the Inquirer reports that, Supreme Court Dismisses Residency Clause. The Supreme Court of Liberia has ordered the provisional writ issued quashed, thereby dismissing the Writ of Prohibition requested for by the Movement for Progressive Change and two concerned citizens of Liberia, which calls for the disqualification of several presidential candidates in the coming elections. In its opinion yesterday, the Supreme Court said the framers of the 1986 Constitution could neither have contemplated nor intended that Liberians faced with the state of civil crisis should still reside in the country because at some point in the future they may want to run for the office of president.

In other stories, Peace Ambassador calls for Violence Free Elections. The Insight newspaper writes that, the primary runner of the Liberia Peace Run, Ambassador Beverly Goll- Yekeson, has reiterated numerous calls for violent free elections in the country. Speaking upon her arrival at Monrovia City Hall in Sinkor yesterday at about 1:00pm, the International Peace Ambassador Goll- Yekeson, said Liberians had come a long way in keeping the peace and it would be very detrimental if it was not preserved.

We end the review with a story from the New Dawn that, CDC Unveils Platform. The lead opposition, Congress for Democratic Change has promised to provide 150,000 new jobs in the private sector within six years, if it wins next Tuesday's presidential and legislative elections. In a press statement issued Wednesday, ahead of the official launch of its political rally Friday in Monrovia, the CDC also promised capacity building for teachers, doctors, engineers and farmers.

This daily news review is compiled by African Elections Project (AEP) Media Monitoring Center at LMC, Monvrovia, Liberia.

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