Liberia court orders temporary halt to runoff election prep

Associated Press

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Associated Press

Liberia's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a temporary halt to preparations for next week's runoff presidential election as it awaits a hearing on complaints alleging voting irregularities.

Representatives of the National Election Commission and those who filed complaints should appear before the court on Thursday, the court said in a statement.

The court emphasized it was not an annulment of the October 10 election. The election commission on its Twitter account continued to urge voters to go to the polls on November 7 as the West African nation seeks a successor to Africa's first elected female president, Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Vice President Joseph Boakai is set to face international soccer star George Weah in the runoff. Neither candidate received the required 50% plus one vote to win outright in the first round.

Third-place candidate Charles Brumskine and his Liberty Party led the legal petition by other candidates that was filed on Friday. It alleged irregularities in the conduct of the October election, saying many voters were denied the chance to participate.

The Liberty Party seeks a re-run of the election.

First-place candidate Weah's party, the Coalition for Democratic Change, is not part of the complaint and wants next week's poll to go ahead. Party chairperson Nathaniel McGill over the weekend warned that if the Supreme Court cancels the election and "there is war in this country," the court will be to blame.

Liberia's ruling Unity Party, which Boakai represents, has said it is in solidarity with the Liberty Party though it is not listed in the Supreme Court statement.

The party has alleged that Sirleaf is interfering with the election process to influence the outcome. The president's office has denied allegations that the president is in favor of Weah.


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