Liberia: The ANC Versus the ALP in the Opposition Collaboration
MONROVIA – The idea that brought the four leading opposition political parties together was formed around building a consolidated force that will effectively challenge unprogressive and lame policies of the ruling establishment and unseat the Coalition for Democratic Change in elections.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
In Liberian politics, though which political party a candidate is from matters in elections, it’s often so because that is the norm – the face of the political party or the movement is that which plays very cardinal role in luring voters’ choices and decisions at the ballot box.
It is in this light the four parties making up the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) – the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC), the Unity Party (UP) and the Liberty Party (LP) have come to the sticky point where they have to select/elect a standard-bearer.
But who will be, what method to be adopt and how to go about the choosing the standard-bearer is that which is now testing formidability of the CPP.
Not much is being heard from the other two members of the Coalition in the public on this subject, the ANC and the ALP are at a contentious point and so it has often been with both.
The ANC Model
The ANC led by Alexander B. Cummings module for selection of the standard-bearer is quite unique but apparently unprecedented in Liberia’s body politics.
For the ANC, having a Voter Perception Survey (VPS) would be ideal in determining candidates that the voters prefer. The ANC believes in the absence of this survey, there is the possibility that the CPP would select a candidate that has a very low or poor voter approval, causing a significant number of supporters of the individual party and CPP supporters to choose not to participate in the elections since they do not like the candidates chosen.
A Voter Perception Survey (VPS) is used all over the world to inform the primary participants. “It makes sense for the CPP to understand who the voters see as the person most likely to win so that delegates to the Primary can make ‘informed decision’ about whom to select or vote for. The credibility of the CPP will be further enhanced with the use of the VPS,” the ANC argues.
According to the ANC, it in good faith offered a clear proposal for the selection of the Standard Bearer for the CPP. The issue for consideration among members was the inclusion of the VPS. The ANC, however, maintains that VPS does not replace Primary.
The ANC: “ANC supports the holding of political conventions. The ANC’s support for a convention complies with the requirement of the National Elections Commission (NEC). There is no disagreement here. It is important to clarify that there is no attempt to cede the selection of the CPP Standard Bearer to a foreign entity or survey firm, as being deliberately distorted by some in the CPP.”
“It makes sense for the CPP to understand who the voters see as the person most likely to win so that delegates to the Primary can make ‘informed decision’ about whom to select or vote for. The credibility of the CPP will be further enhanced with the use of the VPS”– The Alternative National Congress
The perception of the ANC is that in the absence of the VPS before Primary, to determine which candidate the voters prefer, there would be a very low or poor voter approval, causing a significant number of supporters of individual party and CPP supporters to choose not to participate in the elections, since they do not like the candidates chosen.
The ANC: “This could then cause the CPP candidate to lose. To avoid this from happening, the VPS will show who our people see as the best candidate to win, thereby allowing Primary participants to make informed selection.
Prior to Mr. Urey’s press conference on February 19, 2020, a decision was already made by the four Parties that Consensus, VPS and Primaries will be conducted with the results of VPS used for informational purposes only—prior to primaries. It was further agreed that the VPS will be conducted by a reputable institution working with equal number of each party’s representatives for transparency purposes. The only outstanding issue was when the VPS should be conducted. The ALP had again opposed to the VPS being conducted before the primaries, and suggested that it be done prior to the Consensus—a position the other three Parties disagreed with.”
However, the ANC maintains that it remains committed to the CPP and the decisions that meet the general consensus of the CPP.
The ALP’s Opposition
Without having interest in the ANC’s suggested VPS, the head of the CPP, Mr. Benoni Urey of the ALP insists that if anyone will head the ticket of the CPP, that person has to be voted at a primary.
In a press conference held on February 19, Mr. Urey maintained: “I Benoni Urey will not be part of anything; other than going to a primary to elect our standard-bearer. We will not give the right to a foreign group to do a survey.”
“The people who have the right to vote the standard-bearer must not be compromised.”
As the four political parties search among themselves for someone who will be on its ticket, Urey says he is not bothered about the search, yet he already has his favorite.
“Joe Boakai [Unity Party] is the most experience; Cumming is a young successful man and I still maintain that statement. For me, it is not who becomes President. Liberia needs the best. Whoever the CPP makes standard-bearer, I will accept it,” Urey said.