Runoff Election on Hold: Court Rules in Favor of Liberty Party

Aaron Brown
November 7, 2017

The ruling means that the presidential runoff election slated for November 7 will not take place and a new date will only be set once Liberty Party's complaint is investigated by NEC.

"The NEC (National Elections Commission) is stopped and prohibited from conducting the run off election until the complaint filed by the petitions is investigated by the NEC", the Supreme Court ruling said.

Information Minister Eugene Nagbe then called Brumskine's allegations "the rants of a sore and selfish loser who is so blinded by ego and arrogance... even after 12 years of rejection by the voters", alluding to the fact that the Liberty Party candidate has now lost three successive presidential elections.

Article 50 states: "The President shall be elected by universal adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic and shall hold office for a term of six years commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year immediately following the elections".

The victor is to replace Africa's first democratically elected leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Runoff candidates, former worldwide footballer George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Vice President Joseph Boakai of the governing Unity Party, were originally scheduled to face each other on November 7.

In a writ issued late on Tuesday, Liberia's Supreme Court instructed the Liberty Party of third-placed Charles Brumskine, who made the complaint, and the National Elections Commission, to file briefs by Thursday.

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Weah, a former soccer star, is leading the presidential race with 38.4 percent of the vote to Boakai's 28.8 percent.

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.

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.

The Supreme Court is generally respected in Liberia, but many want the potentially destabilising delay resolved sooner rather than later in a country which still has acute memories of back-to-back 1989-2003 civil wars.

Addressing the court's five justices last Friday, Brumskine cited "gross irregularities".

Johnson Sirleaf denied the meetings were inappropriate. However, observers from the Carter centre and the E.U say they saw no major problems with the first-round vote.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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