, , ,

Third Term Or New Breed?

Liberians seem to be pondering over the best alternative in deciding who gets to the Executive Mansion, having already disallowed 18 presidential candidates by vote counts in the 2017 elections not to handle the gavel of authority for the presidency.

Though the National Elections Commission (NEC) has not released final results to determine who wins the presidency, the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) are expected to go for a run-off as indicated by the percentages both parties have so far accumulated from the votes obtained.

With CDC Candidate George Weah  securing 39.0 % of the total votes while UP Candidate Joseph Boakai  obtaining 29.1% of the total votes, with 95.6% of the total polling places already reported,  the claim by  presidential candidates and their supporters about one round of election does not seem to hold.

Long before the elections were conducted, analysts and political commentators, having followed the trends of event in the country, surmised that the ruling party and one opposition party would enter second round for the presidency, no matter how popular any of the 20 presidential candidates might have claimed to be in the race.

Before  and during the period of campaign, opposition political parties struggled to amalgamate strengths  to oust the ruling Unity Party, on grounds that the UP has led the country for two uninterrupted  terms and that giving the party another chance for  third term would suggest supporting  a one party system.

However, supporters of the ruling party have argued that the UP is the best political institution to lead the country and continue the level of development which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has undertaken in what is now becoming her 12 years of administration.

Influential members of the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives joined the Joseph Boakai presidential bid and campaigned for his election while opposition political parties were segmented to take on the ruling party.

It is recalled months before active electoral activities kicked off, in their numbers, opposition political parties assembled in Ganta, Nimba County  for a conference geared towards determining what to do to oust the UP at the polls.

The Ganta conference produced what was called ‘The Ganta Declaration’ which those parties in attendance pledged their commitment to. It was then gathered that those parties concerned would support any opposition party that would remain in the race for a run-off.

Nevertheless, staunch supporters of  UP argued that the ‘Ganta Declaration’ would not hold because of power struggle among the very opposition politicians, citing what transpired in 2005 and 2011 when  most of those parties attempted forming coalitions but  did not achieve the goal;