Liberia court says presidential runoff vote can go ahead

Liberia Supreme Court dismisses fraud allegations, upholds re-run of October polls

Liberia's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that there wasn't enough evidence to substantiate voting fraud claims in its recent presidential election and approved a second round run-off between ex-soccer star George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai.

The second-round vote between soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai had been put on hold last month after the Liberty Party alleged irregularities in the first round of voting on October 10. Weah won 38 percent and Boakai won 29 percent.

However, the five-strong panel ordered a technical clean-up of the much-criticised voter registration roll before the second round, which was called after no single candidate gained more than 50% of the vote on Oct 10.

Reading the opinion on behalf of the Bench, Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, III, said though it was proven by the Appellants (Liberty and Unity Party), the evidence did not have the magnitude to prove that such fraud and irregularities were wide spread.

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Liberty Party's representative Charles Brumskine, who came third in the first round, had challenged the result.

Some of the Supreme Court orders to the Electoral Commission include prohibition of the Chairman and NEC staff from speaking on any matter that may affect a party to the run- off and also fully comply with the electoral management laws of Liberia.

He said, the Supreme Court can not speculate that since it was proven that fraud and irregularities occurred at some polling places, it occurred Nationwide.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is due to step down on January 18 after completing two five-year mandates.

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