Liberia Supreme Court indefinitely delays presidential vote

Still in campaign mode

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

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. Garnering 9.7 percent of the votes, the Liberty Party candidate ranked third after the initial vote, eliminating him from the subsequent run-off ballot.

Known as Sleepy Joe for his propensity to fall asleep at public events, the second-in-command to Africa's first elected female leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is suddenly wide awake and unafraid to speak out.

He said the election commission had "wrongly and illegally" proceeded to organise a run-off between former football star George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai without dealing with the complaint of the Liberty Party.

Photo Charles Brumskine, center, of Liberia's opposition Liberty Party, after hearings last week at the elections commission in Monrovia.

National Elections Commission lawyer Musa Dean told The Associated Press "the highest court of the land has spoken and we have to abide by the ruling".


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.

Liberia is no stranger to disputed election results: Weah's CDC party challenged but ultimately accepted the results of presidential votes in 2005 and 2011.

Still, a growing chorus of parties have expressed doubt in the vote, including Boakai's ruling Unity Party, which in an extraordinary statement last week accused Johnson Sirleaf, one of its own members, of trying to influence the vote.

The court found on Monday that the NEC had acted contrary to the law in declaring Weah and Boakai the top two candidates following an October 10 first round election while a question mark over the validity of the votes was pending.

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.

Boakai's Unity Party signed a letter accusing the president of "interference" by meeting polling officials at her home before the election, and he maintains "there is a reason to raise qualms" if the meeting was indeed at her residence.

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