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

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid