Charles Taylor's Party Chairman Says 2003 Elections Not Possible

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 2, 2003

The Chairman of the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Cyril Allen says he does not see the possibility of the pending elections being held on 14th October as scheduled, taking into consideration the current prevailing situation in the country. Mr. Allen said he would personally like to travel through all of the 64 electoral constituencies and the168 zones in the country to campaign during the elections, as would other political parties leaders.

He wondered how that could be done in spite of the prevailing conditions in the country, stressing that it he will be naive as a political party leader to think about leading a group of partisans to Lofa to campaign for votes.

The NPP Chairman made the observation yesterday when he appeared as a special guest on the Radio Veritas live phone-in talk show, "Topical Issues". Mr. Allen reiterated that before elections, the situation on the ground must be stabilized, no matter what it takes.

Quizzed to comment on whether the government is in support of his comments, since the President has continuously said that the elections will go ahead no matter what? Mr. Allen said such statement was in line with the President’s mandate.

He said it is the constitutional mandate of the government to insist on the holding of elections because according to him, any attempt by government not to hold the elections will result to what he termed "lot of things."He could not say exactly what those things are.

However, the NPP Chairman said there is a constitutional provision for actions to be taken if the prevailing situation in the country is not okay for elections. He hastily suggested that such constitutional provision must be employed. He added that the Legislative and Judicial branches must tell the Executive how to go about such a constitutional provision.

On the issue as to what should be done in case the mandate of the government gets expired? Mr. Allen said if elections can not be held, the government will have to seek from the National legislature the authority to have its mandate extended.

He emphasized the need to follow the constitution to avoid what he called "unnecessary complexities". He said if such a constitutional provision is employed, the extension of the government should be specified while at the same time, there should be a calendar of events to characterize the extended period.

He suggested that the extended period can be 18 months or two years. On the issue of accommodating the LURD and other stake holders in such an extended government, Mr. Allen said no Liberian should be compensated for destroying the country.

He said he does not believe that the international community or any Liberian should be talking about compensating Liberians who shoot their way in by destroying towns and villages. Mr. Allen said it will be a dangerous precedence to compensate such Liberians.

However, he pointed out that giving jobs is a constitutional issue that has been given to the President by the people. He said if the people who have given such a power to the President want those who burnt down villages and towns to get jobs, then it is the will of the people. He said the government must accept that no government is successful unless it listens to the cry of the people. He added that the cry of the Liberian people now is PEACE, and as such, the government must do everything to bring peace to the people.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.