13 September 2017

Liberia: 11 Political Parties Risk Disqualification From October 2017 Polls

Photo: VOA
Jerome Kokoya, the head of Liberia's National Elections Commission

Monrovia — As Liberians prepare to go to the presidential and legislative elections on October 10, 2017, a petition has been filed before the Supreme Court to have 11 political parties rejected from participating due to an alleged violation of the election law.

Former Justice Minister Lavela Korbo Johnson who filed the petition stated that there was need that NEC should go ahead to amend the provision of the 1986 Elections Law specifically 4.5.

Section 4.5 reads: that the list of candidates sent by the political party to the commission for an election must include a candidate for at least half of all (73) constituencies in the election.

Cllr. Johnson in the petition argued that each of the political parties list should meet the threshold of not less than 37 individual with a candidate from at least half of the 73 persons added.

The petitioner named the parties as: Change Democratic Party (CDP), Liberia National Union (LINU) 25 candidates, True Whig Party (TWP) 30 candidates, Victory For Change, Vision For Liberia Transformation (VOLT) Vision For Change (VCP).

Others are Change Democratic Party CDA) 14, Grass Root Democratic Party (GDPL) 27 candidates, Liberia for Prosperity Party (LFP) 2 candidates, Redemption Democratic Congress (RDC) 13 candidates, New Liberia Party (NLP) five candidates and the Movement For Progressive Change (MPC).

"The NEC hearing officer in his ruling affirmed in part and reversed in part that the appellee complied with Section 4.5 (l) and Section 4.5 (la) of the new election law and reversed as part when the hearing officer imposed a fine of US$500.00 and vacated the case," Cllr. Johnson pointed out against NEC on August 31, 2017 ruling of NEC hearing officer.

Contrary to the claim two of the 11 political parties Change Democratic Party and the grand True Whig Party have called for the dismissal, denial and rejection of the petition because they are fully fledged political parties in compliance with the new election laws of the country.

Co-respondent Change Democratic Party (CDA) argued that the party submitted the names of 38 candidates the National Elections Commission (NEC) on the form endorsement form for political parties/alliances and coalition and that the election law as amended and published on December 15, 2014 required political parties nominate at least 36/1/2 candidates to contest at least half of the constituencies during the ensuing elections.

"In the instant case, the law only required political parties to submit at least36/1/2 candidates to contest in half of the constituencies during the ensuing elections to the National Elections Commission, this provision which the CDA has adhered to and fully obey," said the CDA response.

While the grand True Whig Party stated in its response that prevalent to Section 4.5 of the new election law the TWP complied to the law when TWP sent a total of 42 candidates to NEC to be vetted consistent with the commission's own guidelines in order to be qualify and contest in the October 2017 elections.

The Supreme Court has announced a hearing of the petition of appeal filed against the 11 political parties on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at the hour of 10:00 am.


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