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Liberia Supreme Court suspends run-off, orders probe into poll fraud

Liberia Supreme Court suspends run-off, orders probe into poll fraud

Liberia

Liberia’s Supreme Court has ordered the elections body to investigate fraud allegations brought by a losing aspirant in the October 10, 2017 presidential elections, local news portals have reported.

The court on Monday ruled that Tuesday’s run-off vote will not hold until the National Elections Commission (NEC) completes its investigations.

The fraud allegations were lodged by leader of the Liberty Party (LP) Charles Walker Brumskine, who placed third in the vote.

The November 7 run-off was scheduled between the two candidates from the October vote. Ex international footballer George Weah was to face-off with incumbent vice-president Joseph Boakai. The winner is to replace Africa’s first democratically elected leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Weah topped the 10 October poll with 38.4 percent of ballots cast to Boakai’s 28.8 percent, while Brumskine scored 9.6 percent. The second round was necessitated because no candidate got half of votes cast as by law required.

The election was due to be Liberia’s first democratic transition in seven decades, and west African leaders met with all sides of the conflict on Wednesday in an attempt to ease the crisis.

“The election will definitely be delayed, but we don’t know for how long,” NEC spokesman Henry Flomo said. “The fact that the court will not rule until Monday is a delay.”

Addressing the court’s five justices last Friday, Brumskine cited “gross irregularities”. In its complaint last week, the Liberty Party alleged various problems, including the late opening of polls, the absence of queue controllers and fraud by NEC officials.

“This is not about losing or winning,” Brumskine told the court. “It has do to do with putting a system in place.”

Lawyers for the NEC replied that the petitioners did not have any evidence and asked that the court lift its stay so that the commission could organise the second round.

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