"16 Candidates Qualified For Presidential Race"
Final listings from the National Elections Commission (NEC) have been released with all candidates in all three categories of the presidency, senate and representatives sailing through.
The qualification of all candidates means that all is now set for the full participation of hundreds of Liberians wanting to either retain or get to the legislative seats and the presidency to be determined in next month’s general and presidential elections. The final listings see no changes made to the previous provisional listings, making ‘doubted candidates’ to finally breathe a sigh of relief; at least for now.
Sixteen candidates including incumbent President Johnson-Sirleaf will be contesting the presidency while hundreds of others will be contesting 15 junior senatorial seats and 73 representative seats in elections that will test Liberia’s ability to sustain its eight years old peace in its second successive post-conflict democratic elections.
The presidential candidates as finally certified by NEC to contest the October 11 polls are Gladys G.Y. Beyan of the Grassroot Democratic Party of Liberia (GDPL), Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party (LP),Chea Job Cheapoo, Sr of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), James Kpa Chelly of the Original Congress Party of Liberia (OCPOL), Simeon Freeman of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), James Sawalla Guseh of the Citizens Unification Party (CUP), Prince Yormie Johnson of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP), Marcus Roland Jones of the Victory for Change Party (VCP) and Jonathan A. Mayson of the Union of Liberian Democrats (ULD).
Others are Dew Tuan-Wleh Mayson of the National Democratic Coalition (NDC), Manjerngie Cecelia Ndebe of the Liberia Reconstruction Party (LRP), Kennedy Gbleyah Sandy of the Liberia Transformation Party (LTP), Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party (UP), Togba Nah Tipoteh of the Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia (FAPL), Winston A. Tubman of the Congress for Democracit Change (CDC), and Hanniah Zoe of the Liberia Empowerment Party (LEP).
The unchanged final listings could spur series of law suits to be filed before the Supreme Court on grounds of various ineligibilities claims of which the controversial ten-year residency clause whose interpretation is said to be vague could dominate. Attempts in the recent National Referendum to overturn the law by reducing it from 10 to 5 years were voted ‘NO’.
Article 52 (c )of the 1986 constitution, states that "No person shall be eligible to hold the office of President or Vice President, unless that person is resident in the Republic ten years prior to his election, provided that the President and the Vice President shall not come from the same County”.
Already, there have been accusations and counter ones from some candidates pointing at one another for not being qualified under the clause. On the other hand, other groupings and private individuals have been bracing themselves for the legal battle against those they perceive as being unqualified under the provision.
Already, President Sirleaf has said she is over qualified under the constitutional provision as she has been here since 1997 when she first contested the presidency unsuccessfully against Charles Taylor and 11 others.
But many Liberians who anticipated that the NEC, not being clothed with the constitutional authority to bar candidates on such grounds, would clear all to avoid any ‘noise’ and leave it out to whoever will want to take up the case legally.