The opposition Liberia National Union (LINU) has withdrawn from the proposed merger with the Movement of Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) of Senator Prince Y. Johnson and the All Liberian Party (ALP) of businessman Benoni Urey.
Nathaniel Blama, LINU’s political leader, said the party’s executive committee believes that the coalition would not meet up with the timeline the National Elections Commission (NEC) has set with regards to registration of coalitions or mergers and the nomination of candidates.
At the party’s headquarters in Sinkor on Friday, May 26, Mr. Blama told journalists that after the three parties signed the declaration of intent for a merger on April 21 at the MDR headquarters in Congo Town, the parties set up a technical committee comprising members from each of the three parties to draw up a technical document within a week.
“Unfortunately, the process suffered setbacks, causing the committee not to work for two weeks,” Blama said.
“The failure for the committee not to work was probably due to a statement from Senator Johnson claiming that he is the most experienced of the three leaders, and therefore, cannot go second to Urey.”
Meanwhile, Blama boasted that LINU is the most experienced and oldest political institution among the three parties, “and therefore, the executive committee resolved to withdraw from the merger, but remains open to other merger and coalition talks.”
LINU was established on April 17, 1997, while the other two political parties are less than two years old. However, political analysts said they believe that the other two parties have the numbers and the money, while LINU has neither.
Blama: “LINU will participate in the nomination of candidates to be involved in the political party, and according to NEC timetable, it will end in about three weeks. Therefore, LINU’s executive committee officially withdraws from the proposed coalition, because we believe that the process will not achieve the desired results.”
Friday’s move dumped the intent of the proposed merger and further plunged the idea of the formation of a coalition, making it the second coalition to have fallen apart involving the MDR and the ALP.
It may be recalled that a tripartite agreement was sealed with a common understanding that the joint technical committee would work out modalities required for holding a national convention to nominate the coalition’s presidential and vice presidential candidates and representative aspirants.
Meanwhile, the provocative outburst by Sen. Johnson might have in essence put definitive nail to the coffin of the controversial merger, notwithstanding LINU’s retreat. But in the words of Urey, “The deal is still alive and strong.”
Prior to LINU’s Friday decision, the Daily Observer had gathered that the ALP and the MDR have for the past days been holding closed-door meetings without LINU for a possible two-party merger.