Monrovia: 3rd August 2011
14 Days To Expiration: No Presidential Applicant is a banner headline in the Daily Observer newspaper. The paper reports that, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is alarmed that with less than 14 days to the expiration of the nomination of candidates, it has so far received no application from any of the would be presidential candidates. The process of nomination of candidates, according to the NEC calendar of events commenced on July 20, 2011 and will last up to August 15, 2011. And up to present, none of the presidential candidates have picked up their nomination packages. "Of course, this worries the Commission, because it increases the pressure of NEC to over work. Also, the number of candidates that have so far picked up the packages are very small and insignificant taking into consideration the number of persons contesting for various elective posts," Chairman Fromoyan lamented. If the slow pace of nomination from the 29 political parties continues, the Commission will bear the weight of the pressure at the expiration of August 15, 2011 deadline for the process, the Chairman said. "In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer yesterday, the NEC Chair disclosed among other things that up to present, and with less than two weeks to the expiration for nomination, the entire process
has remained slow.
As Liberians prepare to vote in their first Post Conflict Referendum, the In Profile Daily reports that, the Campaign To Defeat Referendum Intensifies. The paper writes that,the flag bearer of the National Democratic Coalition (NDC), Dew Mayson has reiterated his call for Liberians to vote NO during the exercise as a signal for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's defeat at the 2011 general and presidential elections.
The Heritage newspaper this morning reports that, the governing Unity Party (UP) has reportedly requested Nimba Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson to relinquish his presidential ambition and support the second term bid of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The paper in a banner headline... PYJ Will Join Unity Party If...Party Spokesman Declares, reports that,President Johnson Sirleaf, who is seeking re-election, is the Standard Bearer of the UP, while Senator Johnson is the Standard Bearer of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP). The governing UP reportedly made the request at talks between it and the NUDP in a bid to form an alliance in the ensuing elections. When contacted for comments, NUDP spokesman Eric Gbemie confirmed the reports, but said talks are still ongoing between the two political parties regarding the matter.
The New Democrat reports that, Who's Out? UP Begins Primaries. The paper writes that, many politicians who crossed over to use the ruling Unity Party as a train to the legislature have reasons to be anxious as the party yesterday began its primaries, spanning five days, to pick junior
senatorial and Representative candidates. There are reports that the UP stalwarts hopeful of legislative positions frown on the ambition of carpet crossers pushing to be selected at the primaries.
Saying he is not a political contender, Labor Minister Jeremiah Sulonteh yesterday emphasized that since 25 April 2011 he rescinded aspirations for a senatorial seat for Bong County. The New Democrat in a banner story... I Will Not Run, explains that, apress release from the Labor Ministry said Mr. Sulonteh "stepped aside from the senatorial race for Bong County on April 15, 2011, in order to foster unity in both Bong County and the Unity Party". Minister Sulonteh made the clarification Tuesday after this paper reported that he "continues to cling unto his job without reprimand, despite publicly declaring his intention to vie for a senatorial seat in Bong County."
Presidential hopeful, Sen. Prince Johnson, says if he wins the Liberian presidency in October this year, he will give due attention to the survivors and veterans of Liberia's civil war. The Analyst newspaper reports that he did not give details of how he would do that, neither did he say what would the due attention entail, but the former warlord told his Carey Street Ataye Shop audience yesterday, that, he was popular with the Liberian people because he espouses democracy. The paper under the headline... Sen. Johnson Vows To Win Presidency, writes that, the Nimba Senior senator said those who sought refuge on Bushrod Island in Monrovia and in suburban Caldwell would testify to how he fought to protect the innocent civilians who were at the mercy of Charles Taylor's nefarious National Patriotic Front of Liberia or NPFL.
Dark Cloud Hovers Over Unification Party is how theAnalyst newspaperheadlines a story that states that, several partisans of the newly organized Citizen's Unification Party (CUP) have rejected the outcome of the recent Gbarnga Convention. The rejection and the attendant hullabaloo, insiders said, were casting dark clouds over the party's participation in the 2011 presidential and legislative elections. CUP's acting chair, Momolu N. Freeman, told this paper in an interview that over 25 angry Partisans of the party have refuse d to accept the results of the convention, which he said the party's "defectors" organized without consultation with the executive committee.
The United States Ambassador to Liberia Linda Thomas Greenfield has told an organized summit for Liberian women that the United States Government has no interest in any particular candidate in the pending legislative and presidential elections. The Insight newspaper in a banner headline... U.S. Has No Interest in Any Candidate, Our Candidate is Democracy-Ambassador Thomas Greenfield reports the Ambassador as saying, 'What we want for Liberia is peace and stability that is epitomized by peaceful, free and fair elections. As I have said before and I say again, we don't have any candidate-despite beliefs to the contrary," declared Amb. Greenfield.
Liberia Needs Quality not Quantity Candidates (Editorial)
Ahead of the imminent 2011 legislative and presidential elections, political parties are integrating to forge common fronts, solidify their positions and strategies in order to withstand the challenges
that promise to attend the elections. Such consideration is certainly in view of the competitiveness that is anticipated as well as the quality of candidates expected to take Liberia upon the hill top of social, cultural and economic prudence. The merger consideration no doubt bears the basic understanding that in unity there is obviously strength, and in strength success is certainly sure. We hail the merger stagey because it shows that politics is not a one man game, but a collective effort aimed at serving humanity, creating a conducive social and economic environment where harmony and peaceful coexistence will prevail.
The United Nations Secretary General Special Representative in Liberia (SRSG) Ellen Magaret Loj has stressed the need for all Liberians and its international partners to engage fully in ensuring free and fair elections in the country. The Parrot newspaper in a story... Liberian Asked to Ensure Free and Fair Elections reports her as saying unlike in the 2005 elections when the United Nations and the International Community played a leading role in the electoral process, the 2011 presidential and legislative elections are rightfully the responsibility of Liberians, through the relevant Electoral Management bodies, primarily the National Elections Commission.
FrontPage Africa this morning reports of Things Falling Apart in the CDC party. Sources within the CDC hierarchy confirmed to the paper late Monday night that the situation within the party is spiralling out of control amid strong fear that Weah is on the verge of breaking yet another political marriage this time with Amb. Winston A. Tubman. A previous attempt to merge with the Liberty Party's Charles Brumskine also fell apart amid reports that Weah was offered a lofty payment to shatter what many believed was the only ticket strong enough to defeat the incumbent Unity Party government in this year's presidential race. It all started mid afternoon Monday when confusion erupted on the grounds of the CDC in Congo Town when some partisans, who FPA later gathered were ex-combatants acting under the instruction of Weah led by Mulbah Morlu began pulling down items including mementos and party memorabilia belonging to Doe Sheriff. Reporters, including some from FPA who arrived on the scene were prevented from taking photographs and threatened by CDC supporters. The incident was further dampened by fears within the party hierarchy that Weah has sold out to the ruling Unity Party and was masterminding disruption within the party to dampen its chances in the upcoming presidential elections. Complicating matters are reporst that Doe Sheriff's husband is being accused of being a partisan of the Unity Party. On the party grounds Monday, supporters also showed concerns over multiple media reports that Weah had demanded the resignation of both Doe-Sheriff and Gray.
The National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP of presidential aspirant Senator Prince Johnson is poised to make a leap to George Weah's Congress for Democratic Change or CDC in what many here say could become a key factor that may bring about a replay of the CDC Vs.
UP scenario experienced in the 2005 elections. The New Dawn has reliably gathered that the opposition party National Union for Democratic Progress until now, Sen. Johnson and his NUDP
have sat in their own little corner on the fence and continue to watch the current wave of broad day and sometimes midnight talks or negotiations between and among various parties for possible alliances before the general elections in October. The paper in a banner headline... The Decider reports that, even the former ruling National Patriotic Party is currently in talks with the CDC and UP, with hopes that is close to securing collaboration with the CDC rather than the ruling Unity Party, taking into account its unfinished business with the incumbent, Madam Johnson Sirleaf and the UP from the 2005 elections.
We conclude our review with an Editorial from the News newspaper. The paper this morning is urging Liberians that... Referendum Boycott Is No Solution (Editorial). The paper explains thatLiberians are expected to hold a national referendum on August 23 that would ultimately determine a new constitutional direction for the state. The referendum comes at the time when the people of Liberia will be going to the polls in the country's second post war elections on October 11. On the day of the referendum, Liberian s will be voting YES or NO for four propositions. They include the ten years residency clause, the tenure for justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia (from 70-75 year),
date for election from October to November, as well as vote by absolute majority. As said, opinions of some opposition political parties and the ruling Unity Party on the referendum are mixed across the broader spectrum on the political landscape. Reason are that some political parties raise sequential and constitutional issues, while others think the process is plaster with manipulations intended to protect the president and few elites in government. Now, there are reports that one of the leading opposition parties, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), is calling on its members to boycott the pending referendum. The CDC believes that the processes leading to election in October is flawed and unconstitutional. However, opposition politician Prof. Dew Mayson thinks differently from the CDC. He wants Liberians to vote NO on referendum day, because by doing so would main voting against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. WE believe all of the political parties are stakeholders to this process; therefore, they have the right to express their views on this issues and even seek redress for constitutional interpretation through the high court. However, we do not share the view that boycotting the referendum is the right way to proceed, but to exhaust all legal means to ensure that the referendum is held.
This daily news review is compiled by African Elections Project (AEP) media monitoring centre at LMC, Monvrovia, Liberia