Liberia court drops challenge to Sirleaf candidacy

Wed Oct 5, 2011 2:26pm GMT

MONROVIA Oct 5 (Reuters) - Liberia's Supreme Court said on Wednesday it has dismissed a challenge to the eligibility of six candidates in next week's presidential election, including incumbent leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her main rivals.

A small opposition party had launched the challenge, citing a constitutional clause requiring candidates be resident in the republic 10 years prior to his election. Many of the West African state's political elite left the country at times during its bloody 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

"It is our opinion that the framers of the 1986 constitution could neither have contemplated nor intended that Liberians faced with the state civil crisis be resident because at some point in the future they may want to run for the office of president," Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis said. (Reporting by Alphonso Toweh; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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