Despite last week’s rejection of the opposition Liberty Party’s (LP) vice standard bearer, Harrison Karnwea, and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) vice standard bearer, Jeremiah Solunteh, respectively by the National Elections Commission, both parties insist here that their deputies will be on the ballots on October 10.
Mr. Darious Dillon, Vice Chairman of the Liberty Party said over the weekend that his vice standard bearer will be on the ballot come what may. Though he did not elaborate, it is believed that the LP is seeking legal redress. ANC national chairman Orishell Gould, says his party is studying the matter keenly will engage the process gently. He assures his partisans that Ambassador Solunteh will be on the ballot.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) remains firm with individuals seeking elective offices. The NEC axed both Karnwea and Sulunteh in straight adherence to the Code of Conduct for public officials, which requires aspirants holding public offices to resign two years prior to elections.
Harrison Karnwea is running mate of Liberty Party Standard Bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, while Jeremiah Sulunteh is running mate of ANC’ Alexander Cummings.
Karnwea hails from vote-rich Nimba County, while Sulunteh is from Bong County, centeral region. Karnwea submitted his nomination papers before he was disqualified by the NEC.
The Commission took the decision based on Section 5.1 and 5.2, respectively of the Code of Conduct, which require appointed government officials to resign three years before contesting for elective office. Both men failed to comply accordingly. It is not yet known whether the National Elections Commission will also nail the ANC Standard Bearer, Alexander Cummings, who did not resign his position as Board member of a public corporation.
Another Presidential aspirant, former Central Bank Governor Dr. Mills Jones, is being entangled in the Code of Conduct debate, but the NEC has not made any decision on presidential aspirants as yet.
Meanwhile, NEC has extended by 10 days the candidate nomination process, taking place at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. The cardinal electoral date is meant to give political parties and independent candidates the platform for inclusion on the ballots for the October elections. According to a press release issued in Monrovia over the weekend, it started on June 19, 2017 and should have folded on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. The process runs from Monday thru Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
In the astuteness of the Commission, and considering the level of enthusiasm on the part of political parties and aspirants, coupled with the statutory demands relating the 50% candidate requirement and the 30% gender requirement for each party, the Commission added the additional days.
Section 4.5-Nomination of candidates- (1a) of the New Elections Law of Liberia states: the list of candidates sent by a political party to the Commission for election must include a candidate for at least half of all the constituencies in the election. (1b). A political party or coalition in its submission to the Commission, of its list of candidates for an election should endeavor to ensure the governing body and its list of candidates has no less than 30% of its members from each gender.
With the additional days, the Commission hopes the parties would be able to satisfy the above statutory requirements. At the same time the Commission has lauded political parties that are frantically guaranteeing mammoth women participation in the October elections.From the start of the nomination to the close of day on Thursday, July 6, 2017, the team had recorded a total of 465 aspirants, 5 presidential aspirants from the All Liberia Party (ALP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP), and the United Peoples Party (UPP), and an Independent aspirant.
Four vice presidential aspirants from the ANC, LP, UPP and the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) were also processed. Out of the 465 aspirants recorded, 385 are males and 80 are females. A total of 47 independent aspirants were processed, while 456 representative aspirants and 418 political party aspirants were processed, according to NEC.