Presidential elections in France may be getting all of the attention now, but there is another important political race happening in Liberia.
One of the eight presidential candidates and representative of the Liberty Party in Liberia is Charles Brumskine, who happens to be the brother-in-law of Maima Barclay, a social studies teacher here who is a favorite of her students.
This is not the first election for Brumskine, as he has ran for president for the past two elections, beginning in 2005 and Barclay is “not surprised that he is running again. He believes he has something to offer to the country, and would do much better now than when he started to run in the election 12 years ago,” Barclay said.
After losing two elections in the past, Brumskine has a solid chance of becoming president this year. “He has a better chance this time around because his biggest competition will not be running again. The current president, Ellen Sirleaf, has beat him the past elections because she is a well known politician and activist in Liberia,” Barclay said.
Sirleaf was a popular candidate in Liberia as dedicated female leader and won the votes of nearly everyone she met, including Barclay. “He ran against Ellen Sirleaf, the current president, in the past two elections and I was actually rooting for her. She has been more committed to the country and I have a lot of respect for her, but this year I think he has a better chance because she was his biggest competition. She was able to beat him in past elections because she is a well known politician and political activist in Liberia,” Barclay said.
Elections in Liberia are far from simple, but share some of the same ideas that are included in U.S. elections. For example, a president can serve only for two terms, but one term is six years instead of four.
There are still primary and general elections, but it is a race between eight political parties rather than just two. In Liberia there are too many political parties all competing for the same spot, so elections can take a long time.
Brumskine is not the only one in the family who had shown interest in Liberian politics. “I actually thought I would run in Liberian government. In the beginning of my career there was a 17 year civil war happening in Liberia, so I began teaching in America and realized how much I love it,” Barclay said.
Moving back to Liberia is a possible option for Barclay. “I wanted to work with Charles and restructure education, but I realized the good I can do in Africa is also good I can do here. Maybe in another life, or maybe the next phase of my life,” Barclay said.