Четверг, 14 Декабря, 2017

Fraud probe to delay Liberia election run-off - election commission

George Weah former soccer player and presidential candidate of Congress for Democratic Change, votes at a polling station in Monrovia Liberia: Supreme Court ruling on poll run-off scheduled for Monday
Rita Gibson | 05 Ноября, 2017, 10:35

After the first round, Georges Weah, former footballer and Senator of the State of Monrovia, collected 39% of the votes against 29.1% for Joseph Boakai, candidate of the ruling party.

However, most observers agree the scheduled date of November 7 now looks near-impossible.

The vote would be Liberia's first democratic transition of power since 1944, but the Supreme Court this week halted preparations while it examined charges by Charles Brumskine's Liberty Party, the third-place finisher, that the first round, on October 10, was marred by fraud.

In parallel, Boakai and Brumskine have accused Sirleaf of "interfering" in the elections by meeting polling officials at her residence ahead of the vote, though her press secretary has said the talks were "consistent with her constitutional role".

These disputes would definintely disrupt the second-round vote scheduled to hold on November 7 to find a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; the country's first democratically elected leader after the civil war.

Weah, who became the first non-European to win the European soccer player of the year award in 1995, won the first round of voting with 38.4 percent to Boakai's 28.8 percent.

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The Supreme Court order is believed to have placed a serious temporary obstacle on preparations for next Tuesday's runoff elections, as the NEC has to wait for the outcome of the hearing of the complaints, which the LP said is a "violation of the Constitution, election law, fraudulent acts and gross irregularities during the October 10 elections".

Lawyers representing the NEC and the LP were expected to appear before the Supreme Court yesterday, but failed to do so without any legal reason.

"This is not about losing or winning", Brumskine told the court.

A lawyer by training, Brumskine has urged Boakai not to take part in the runoff after the vice-president said he would go ahead regardless of his backing for the legal case.

Johnson Sirleaf denied the meetings were inappropriate.

The vice president was poised to go public with a weeks-long complaint by his supporters: that Sirleaf backs Weah, not the man who served alongside her in government for 12 years.

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