News / Africa

Liberia's Candidates to be Made Public for October Election

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

The National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) is expected to announce Friday the names of legislative and presidential candidates considered qualified to stand in the October general election.

The announcement follows the results of last month’s controversial constitutional referendum in which Liberian voters rejected a proposal to change the residency requirement for presidential candidates from 10 to 5 years.

The failure could have meant that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a number of other presidential candidates might not have been qualified to run.

NEC Chairman James Fromayan said the 10-year residency requirement is ambiguous and his commission did not want to disqualify any candidate based on what he called a vague constitutional provision.

Fromayan said a total of 16 presidential candidates will be announced as qualified to stand in the October 11 election.

“The result does not have any direct bearing on the qualification of candidates from the standpoint of the National Election Commission. Against that background, we have our own guidelines and requirements that candidates are supposed to meet before they are qualified by the NEC to contest election and, as far as we are concerned, those who are qualified to contest have met all the qualifications laid down by the elections commission and are consistent with the laws of Liberia,” he said.

Fromayan said his commission is not trying to disregard the mandate of the Liberian electorate who voted August 23 in a referendum and rejected a proposal to change the residency requirement.

“What was being proposed for amendment was much clearer than the 10 years that is very, very ambiguous and lacked clarity as to what the law is talking about. So, we don’t want to penalize anybody on the grounds of a particular constitutional clause that lacks clarity,” Fromayan said.

He said the decision to put the 10-year residency requirement to a vote was that of the Liberian legislature, not the election commission.

“We did not bring any provision up for referendum.  Let’s get that very clear.  Those provisions came from the national legislature.  It did not [come] from us.  As far as we are concerned, the issue of residency clause has never been an issue to us,” Fromayan said.

A spokesman for the elections commission told VOA a week ago that anyone who was not satisfied with the qualifications of a candidate should challenge that in court.

Fromayan appears to be backing away from that claim.

“We’re not really laying that position.  We qualified the number of candidates we have talked about and, as far as we are concerned, we are moving on.  If anybody feels that we have done wrong, they know where to go.  They know precisely what to do, but don’t feel guilty of any wrongdoing, and I think we will forge ahead focusing on the conduct of the election which is October 11.  Those who want to pursue a court action, it’s up to them.  We’re not telling them what to do,” he said.

There are suggestions that the Supreme Court may not have “original jurisdiction” and that anyone wishing to challenge any candidate’s qualification may first have to do so with the National Elections Commission.

The issue of who has “original jurisdiction” to hear any complaint about the qualification of any presidential candidate is being debated by legal experts.

Fromayan said complaints about election matters should first go to the elections commission.

“In some instances, individuals go straight to the Supreme Court without recourse to the elections commission, but electoral complaints for the record ought to begin with the National Elections Commission,” Fromayan said.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs