News / Africa

Liberian Candidate Qualifications Could be Challenged

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

An official of Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) said October’s presidential elections will go ahead as scheduled following the results of the constitutional referendum.

The commission announced Wednesday that voters rejected all four propositions, including the controversial one to reduce the number of consecutive years a presidential candidate must have resided in Liberia from 10 to five.

As a result, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a number of other presidential candidates may be disqualified to stand in the October election.

Bobby Livingston, director of public information outreach for the National Elections Commission, said anyone dissatisfied with the qualifications of the candidates should challenge them in court.

“Anyone who feels that there is a probable cause to challenge any of the candidates that have been preliminarily qualified by the NEC, the onus will be on the person to go to the court and, as you know, in our jurisdiction the court that deals with matters of the constitution is the Supreme Court. [The court] will determine whether we should be stopped in terms of qualifying a candidate or whether we should be allowed as we have acted within the confines of the law,” he said.

Kwame Clement, a former Liberian journalist and now a lawyer in the United States, said any Liberian can file a lawsuit before the Supreme Court to challenge the eligibility of any one of the candidates who has been certified by the NEC.

“There is a doctrine in the law called 'standing,' that is whether you have the right to bring such a case before the court? And, to have standing, you must suffer injury, which means a legal harm. And arguably a Liberian can say, ‘I will suffer a legal harm if this person is allowed to contest the election because if that person wins, I will be ruled by a person who doesn’t satisfy the constitutional prerequisites for being president,’ i.e., satisfying the 10-year residency requirement,” he said.

Clement said legal arguments are there to be made for anyone wanting to challenge the qualification of the candidates, especially based on Article 52c of the 1986 constitution.

“The opening paragraph says, ‘No person shall be eligible to hold the office of the president or vice president unless that person is resident in the Republic 10 years prior to his election,’” Clement said.

He said there is also a counter argument to be made against Article 52c that the constitution doesn’t say 10 years immediately prior to the election.

“Somebody can put forward the argument that if you were resident in the country for any 10-year period and then left, you satisfy that 10-year requirement because the constitution does not say immediately prior to the election,” he said.

But, Clement said another counter argument can be made that the constitution is speaking of the present and the past.

“It [Article 52c] says no person shall be eligible to hold the office of president or vice president unless that person is a resident. So, it’s talking in the present and not the past.  It has to be 10 years of uninterrupted residence,” Clement said.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid