>Liberia: Parties Split On Referendum


>Source: All Africa

Boimah J. V. Boimah

About 90 days before campaign begins for the impending Referendum on 4 clauses on the proposed constitutional amendment ahead of the general and presidential elections, opposition political parties seem to be in disarray over a collective plan to oppose the vote.

The referendum targets reducing the residency clause from 10 to 5 years, adopting a simple majority, instead of an absolute majority, for legislative elections, moving national election date from 2nd Tuesday in October to 2nd Tuesday in November, and increasing the tenure of judges to 75 years.

Several heads of political parties– National Democratic Coalition (NDC), New Deal Movement, National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) , Equal Rights Party (ERP), Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), amongst others — failed to sign a joint communiqué opposing the referendum, after they had converged for said purpose at the Rose Garden on Crown Hill.

“Yes I am here to sign a joint communiqué on the impending referendum and other election related matters,” one opposition leader who preferred anonymity told this paper.

The party leaders failed to sign any communiqué after spending almost five hours in a closed door meeting.

But NDC leader, Dew Tuan Wleh Mayson, told reporters: “A press conference will be held later to inform journalists about the outcome of the meeting.”

Although no reasons for the cancellation of the signing ceremony was given, one political party leader told this paper that not all of them supported the communiqué.

“We were split over the communiqué. Some of us want the five-year residency clause to hold so that President Sirleaf can have the opportunity to be challenged and defeated at the poll.

“But others are saying no. So we decided to stay out. That brought about the deadlock,” he said.

However, Amb. Mayson described the matter as ‘complex’, saying, “We will continue to meet. No, no, we have had no disagreement… No signatures have been appended to any document.”

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