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October 26, 2011

Liberian Opposition Candidate Wants Preconditions for Presidential Runoff

by James Butty

Winston Tubman says the preconditions include a demand for Election Commission Chairman James Fromayan to step down

In Liberia, the opposition Congress for Democratic Change [CDC] has announced a number of pre-conditions for the November 8 presidential runoff election against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

CDC presidential candidate Winston Tubman said the conditions include a demand for the chairman of the National Election Commission James Fromayan to step down.

“There have been some specific pre-conditions. For example, they [CDC] have said Mr. Fromayan should longer be heading the process, that the whole NEC commission should be reviewed and more people brought on board to make more objective in the execution of its duty,” he said.

Tubman said the CDC has no plans to boycott the runoff if its demands are not met. But he said his party believes the runoff has to be carried out in a manner that is less controlled.

“These are pre-conditions. They are not statements to the effect that we are boycotting the process. We want to participate in the process, and we believe we can win it. But it has to be done in a manner that will be free and less controlled in a manner that we felt did not do fairness and justice to us,” Tubman said.

He said many in the CDC believe chairman Fromayan is biased and unfair and sometimes dismissive of CDC concerns.

“I brought some complaints to him and the manner in which he treated me when I was there, discussing what I considered to be grave matters, was almost dismissive. And then having had the meeting with him, he went on air to discuss blow-by-blow what I had raised with him in what I felt was a rather degrading and insulting way,” he said.

Tubman said the CDC wants to have more participation in the monitoring and observing [of the runoff poll) and making sure that the counting of the votes is done in an objective way.

He said the CDC intends to communicate its concerns to the NEC on Thursday.

Tubman rejected the suggestion by some that the CDC was raising the issue of pre-conditions because it may not have the finances to conduct a vigorous campaign for the runoff.

“Our finance has always been tight, but the strength of our party is not our finances, but the supporters. We have committed and very passionate supporters. You don’t have to pay them money to do things. Yes, we have a money problem. We’ve always had it, but if it were because of money we wouldn’t have gotten where we are,” Tubman said.