The National Elections Commission’s provisional list of candidates shows only six individuals have been certified to contest for the October 2017 presidential election.
Those cleared for now include Vice President Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party. Senator George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change and Prince Y. Johnson of the Movement for Democratic Reconstruction. Others are: Kennedy Sandy of the Liberia Transformation Party, MacDonald Wento of the United People’s Party and Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party.
Notable absentees on the candidates list are two-time defeated presidential aspirant Cllr. Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party, former Central Bank Governor Mills Jones and Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress. The final list of candidates is expected to be published on July 30.
It is not clear why the more than 20 individuals that have announced their aspiration for the presidency have not filed their nomination application with the elections governing body.
The Code of Conduct for government employees and public officials, which amongst others provisions requires appointed officials wanting to contest for elective positions to resign two years to conduct of the elections, has effectively ruled out the participation of some presidential hopefuls.
The 2017 elections are expected to usher in the country’s first smooth transfer of power since 1944. Since the end of Liberia’s civil war in 2003, the country has had two successive post-war Presidential and Legislative elections (2005 and 2011) in addition to a Special Senatorial election in 2014 for half of the 30-member Senate. This means, the October 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections would be crucial for the transition and consolidation of democracy in Liberia.
Incumbent President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who has served two terms is constrained by the Constitution of Liberia (Article 50) against contesting. Her Vice President, Joseph Boakai, is in the race to replace her. Boakai is to face challenge against a number of opposition political parties or groupings including the Liberty Party and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), which comprises the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of George Weah, National Patriotic Party (NPP) of Jewel Howard-Taylor and the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) of the corrupt indicted former Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Alex Tyler.