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Court annuls candidacy of Liberia's only female presidential aspirant

Court annuls candidacy of Liberia's only female presidential aspirant

Liberia

A Liberian civil court has annuled the candidacy of Liberia’s only female presidential aspirant, Macdella Cooper, after her election to lead her party in the October 10 general elections was contested.

Judge Boima Konton on Tuesday declared the Union of Liberian Democrats (ULD) convention on April 22 – that elected Cooper – as illegal after Jonathan Mason, the previous flagbearer of the party filed a suit against the process, local media report.

According to the complaint cited by local media, the party’s national executive committee agreed on April 19 to postpone the election due to inadequate logistics and “lack of proper preparation that will provide a level playing field”.

Four days after her election, the court placed a stay order on the entire process after earlier warnings by the court and the country’s election commission to refrain from holding the election, the Liberian Observer earlier reported.

The warning was not heeded to by the party’s acting national chairman, Solomon Khan who went ahead with the polls that saw Macdella Cooper and other executives elected to lead the party.

The court’s final decision means Macdella Cooper will have to contest again for the party’s flagbearer position when a new date is set.

ULD Secretary General Prince Varney said the party will convene an extraordinary session this week on the election of new executives and flagbearer.

However, lawyers of the respondents have vowed to advance the case to the Supreme Court.

Liberia’s electoral commission this week certified four political parties to the active 22 ahead of the October 10 general elections.

26 parties are expected to file their nominations for the legislative and presidential elections in two weeks.

If nominated again, 40-year-old former model and philanthropist MacDella Cooper will rub shoulders with veteran politicians who want to direct the affairs of Africa’s oldest republic state.

She hopes to become the continent’s fourth elected female head of state.


Who is Macdella Cooper?

Macdella Cooper is a 40-year-old former model and philanthropist who hopes to improve the socioeconomic lives of Liberians.

She founded the MacDella Cooper Foundation in 2003 and returned to Liberia from her base in the United States in 2005 to offer education, health and economic support for orphaned children, women and the youth of Liberia.

MacDella Cooper was 13 years old and living in Monrovia when the 14-year civil war spread to the capital in 1990.

Without documentation, she was left behind in Monrovia with her two older brothers, aged 14 and 16, who together successfully reached Ivory Coast by foot through bushes, she narrated her story to business journal International Business Times last year.

With the help of her mother, who had earlier escaped to the United States with some of her siblings, young MacDella reunited with her family in New Jersey in 1993 when she was 16.

She enrolled in school and later earned a degree in Electronic Communications.

MacDella Cooper ventured into the fashion industry as a successful runway model in New York and fashion coordinator for fashion brand Ralph Lauren.

MacDella Cooper has three children with three men including American businessman Richard Parsons and her opponent, football legend turned politician Senator George Weah – who is leading a coalition of three parties.

George Weah run for president in 2005 losing to Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In 2011 he run again as a vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of Winston Tubman but failed.

She once said in a 2014 interview when she was with George Weah that: “He’s going to be the next president of Liberia. You have a future first lady here”.

If elected, MacDella Cooper will be the 25th President of Liberia and will serve a six-year term which can be renewed once.

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