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Useless coalitions

Liberia’s former Solicitor General Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe says forming coalition under constraints after being defeated in the first round ofelections is unnecessary, on grounds that such coalitions by political parties are only real in the first round when players have relevance.

Useless coalitions

“Second round you are out, there are only two leading candidates, soyou say okay, now I’m out, I’m coming to [form coalition] …, it doesnot have a factor …, you are not losing anything. You have to make asacrifice. But second round (where) you are not a player, then you come (and) you sayokay, I have lost. I am not a player but I will ask my people to comebehind you,” he argued.

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Some 22 political parties and presidential aspirants are registered byLiberia National Elections Commission or NEC to battle for thepresidency comes 2017 against the ruling Unity party headed by Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

A rainbow coalition forum was held in Nimba County sometimes this yearby opposition parties, but not much concrete development has emergedsince to determine their readiness to limit the parties here. At two of the parties that attended the meeting have so far formed coalition with mainopposition Congress for Democratic Change of Sen. George Weah.

Recent elections in Liberia have witnessed a flooded oppositionfighting against the ruling party, but they largely come to formcoalitions after their defeats in the first rounds, like 2011 and 2005won by President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf and her Vice President Mr. Boakai.

Appearing on Power 93.3 Fm on Monday, 5 December, Cllr. Gongloe expressedthe need for parties to make a sacrifice, and discouraged the practice of forming a coalition at a time they are no longer a player in theelection process.

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He says coalition prior to the first round of elections “is realcoalition,” having said when it comes to national interest andcommitment to elections, money, popularity and experience are selfishinterests and not important factors that politicians must use asyardstick to demand leading coalitions“… Somebody will say I’m older, I’m more experienced – come behindme. Another person will say I’m popular, you know, I have moresupporters, come behind me … when it comes to national interest, andcommitment to elections interest, those are not all important.

hoseare all selfish factors,” Cllr. Gongloe said.

He emphasized that people are not ready to make sacrifices becausethose with money, popularity or experience feel that they must be madeleaders at all cost, thus making coalition difficult for oppositionparties.

The Counselor says he does not think that anything will changebetween now and next year when it comes to coalition building,particularly citing opposition parties’ traditional coalition thatoften comes after their defeat in the first round of the elections.

In Nigeria, he said the opposition united and Mr. Mohammedu Buhari won the elections against the incumbent, while in The Gambia, a smalleropposition party formed coalition with the bigger parties and won the elections against the incumbent.Unlike in The Gambia where a simple majority wins election, he saysone must acquire 50 percent plus one vote here to be declared awinner, something he sees very difficult for a single party to secureamong dozen other parties.

As such, he suggests that if all of the political parties in Liberiacan look at the collective interest, they might be a formidable forceby uniting without precondition to field a single candidate.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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