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CDC Official Says Participation in Liberian Runoff Election "Not Feasible"

  • James Butty

Presidential opposition candidate Winston Tubman speaks to supporters at a rally in Monrovia, Liberia, October 16, 2011.

Presidential opposition candidate Winston Tubman speaks to supporters at a rally in Monrovia, Liberia, October 16, 2011.

George Solo, CDC spokesman and deputy campaign manager says the NEC has shown it has no intention to address CDC concerns

An official of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party of Liberia said it is not politically feasible for the CDC to take part in the November 8th presidential runoff election.

The CDC has accused the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) of rigging the first round of voting and made a series of demands that eventually resulted in the departure of NEC chairman James Fromayan.

The CDC has also demanded the removal of the Board of Commissioners and equal ad-hoc representation on the commission.

In a letter to the CDC Thursday, the commission said it was unrealistic and unreasonable to demand the removal of the Board of Commissioners.

CDC spokesman and deputy campaign manager George Solo said it was never the commission’s intention to expeditiously address his party’s concerns.

“We in the CDC believe that NEC has simply been going through the formality as per their mandate. There was no real intention to even look deeply into the issues raised by the Congress for Democratic Change or to resolve them,” he said.

In a letter responding to the CDC demands, acting elections commission chairperson Elizabeth J. Nelson said, “The Commission will have me inform you that it will adhere to the constitution and laws of the land and proceed on November 8, 2011 to conduct the presidential runoff election.

She urged the CDC to reconsider its decision and participate in the ballot. But, Solo said the CDC does not intend to participate, even if the NEC had met all CDC demands.

“The Congress for Democratic Change does not believe that it is politically feasible to participate in the November 8th election, even if all those changes that we are requesting were made today, simply because it is not possible to implement those changes, to re-engineer a whole electoral system,” Solo said.

Solo described as a “naïve perspective” the view that the CDC might be using its dispute with the NEC as an excuse for not taking part in the election.

“Readiness is not the issue. The issue is advocating for a free, fair and transparent electoral process. How can you have grievances and use your grievances as an excuse. Grievances are very valid concerns that must be addressed to enable one to be confident enough to re-engage in the process,” Solo said.

He said the CDC does not believe the NEC carries enough credibility to conduct the November 8th run-off election.

In its letter to the CDC, the NEC said it would have concluded its investigation of the CDC’s complaint of alleged fraud “had it not been for the five [5] excuses, or five [5] adjournments, requested by your party.”

But, Solo said the NEC has failed to take seriously the CDC complaints of alleged fraud.

“No matter our articulation, we are stakeholders in this process. What the National Elections Commission has consistently done, they continue to throw low blows to indicate that the Congress for Democratic Change does not have a case,” Solo said.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Thursday invited CDC standard bearer Winston Tubman to Abuja, Nigeria for consultations.

“It is no secret that the standard bearer had a meeting with ECOWAS, and we are still waiting to hear the result of that meeting. We believe it is intended to convince the Congress for Democratic Change, or to help steer the Congress for Democratic Change in the direction of going to the November 8th runoff.

But, Solo said he could not comment on the give-and-take of Tubman’s meeting with ECOWAS because Tubman was still in Abuja and has not briefed the party.

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