Liberia Supreme Court Postpones Presidential Run-off Election

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The Liberian Supreme Court on Monday issued a stay order on the presidential run-off election earlier slated for Tuesday, until the electoral commission investigates claims of fraud in the October 10 first round poll.

The order is based on a petition filed by third-place finisher in the October 10 general elections, Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party (LP) who is seeking a re-run of the exercise on the allegation of fraud and irregularities.

The first election was won by a former footballer, George Weah, who, however, polled less than 50 per cent of the votes required for an outright victory.

Mr. Weah, the world footballer of the year in 2005, was set for a run-off with the current Vice President of the country, Joseph Boakai, who polled about 30 per cent of votes cast to come second in the first poll.

In Monday’s ruling, the apex court said the run-off remained suspended until the National Elections Commission investigates Mr. Brumskine’s claims.

Mr. Brumskine alleged that the elections were faced with “serious gross irregularities and fraud that undercut the integrity of the process as well as denying voters their constitutional rights to vote.”

“The preliminary results released by authorities of the National Elections Commissions (NEC) are not valid, because we at the LP have evidence to prove our case,” he said.

Mr. Brumskine said that their evidences range from the stuffing of ballot boxes with marked ballot papers for another party than the LP in Nimba County by a NEC presiding officer; the late opening of polls at some centres; and the omission of names and photographs from the voters’ roll.

“So many Liberians were deprived of their constitutional right to vote. We will, therefore, be requesting a re-run of the elections.

“The October 10 elections did not pass the minimum standards required for free, fair and transparent elections and Liberia deserves a valid, transparent election,” Mr. Brumskine had alleged.

The election is meant to usher in Liberia’s first democratic transition since 1944 after long periods of military rule and a civil war that ended in 2003.

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