At the invitation of the Political Leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction MDR, Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, more than 20- heads of legally registered political parties of Liberia are expected to assemble today, September 16, in the northern city of Ganta, Nimba County, to find a way out as the country gears up for the 2017 Presidential and Representatives elections.
The dialogue is expected to discuss the possibility of a merger against ruling Unity Party candidate and Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai. The political dialogue is expected to bring together the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change, Liberty Party, National Patriotic Party, Liberia National Union and All Liberian Party.
Others include Alternative National Congress Liberian People Democratic Party, as well as the Movement for Economic Empowerment, among others. It can be recalled that on last July 26, Independence Day celebrations, CDC’s George Weah called similar dialogue for a possible merger, but the outcome is yet to be publicly known.
The current count of registered political parties by the National Elections Commission stands at 22 and parties still have until early 2017 to close nominations of standard bearers. In 2005, some 22 presidential candidates were cleared to contest, while six candidates were rejected. The elections, which saw the climax of post-war political transition, occasioned the emergence of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the first democratically-elected female African head of state.
Six years later in 2011, sixteen candidates were cleared by NEC to contest the presidency, with President Sirleaf retaining her reign at the helm of power in Liberia. With about a year remaining to the 2017 race, discussions have been ongoing behind the scenes in the past months between and among various political stakeholders, and the general public for pairings that could lead the politicians to victory.
Such talks, however, appeared to have broken down with each political figure sensing an open field as it was in 2005, being his best bet to clinch the presidency. Both in 2005 and 2011, in spite of the large pool of presidential candidates, Liberians could not determine what made each candidate different, as it seemed that all of them had the same policy and programs.
After contesting the presidency in the last two elections, the senior partner of Brumskine& Associates, will be hoping that that 2017 makes him a third-time charmer. Brumskine, who has been vocally expressive about the importance of having a strong opposition to challenge the ruling Unity Party reign, has made some inroll in recent weeks with football legend George Weah.
Bad blood between both the Liberty Party and Congress for Democratic Change heightened after Brumskine failed to endorse both Weah and Sirleaf in the second round of the 2005 elections.
Brumskine also refused to endorse CDC in 2011, but chose President Sirleaf in the run-off. The CDC has not forgiven Brumskine, but both figures (Brumsine and Weah) have, in recent weeks, become not the best of buddies, but according to aides, fairly good friends.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by George Barpeen