March 20, 2018

Liberia Supreme Court suspends presidential run-off election

07 November 2017, 12:08 | Rufus Hill

Liberia Election on Hold, Supreme Court Orders

Supreme Court considers fate of Liberia presidential runoff

More than two million Liberians went to the polls last month to pick a new leader with president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf set to leave office.

Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor said Monday that the electoral body had been proceeding "wrongly and illegally" to conduct a runoff between former worldwide soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai while a complaint remained about the October poll.

Liberia's apex court on Monday upheld the complaint for a "stay order" on the election runoff filed by the opposition Liberty Party.The Liberty Party recently filed a complaint to the Supreme Court to place a "stay order" on the runoff election, which was scheduled for November 7.

George Weah, a former soccer player, and Vice President Joseph Boakai [websites] were scheduled to run for Liberia's first democratic transfer of power in over 70 years.

The victor will replace Nobel Prize victor President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state.

Global donors have poured billions of dollars into Liberia since Sirleaf was elected in 2005, and are eager to see completed what will be the country's first democratic transition in seven decades.

"This is good for Liberia, and this is a manifestation that we have come a long way in our country and that's what we asked for - an opportunity to be heard", said Benjamin Sanvee, chairman of the Liberty Party.

"There are a lot of irregularities, we believe, majority really calculated to make this election go the way it went", charges Boakai, sporting a trilby hat in an interview at his home in a suburb of the capital, Monrovia, on Monday.

"Hopefully ECOWAS can continue to make its presence felt, to urge the Liberian political leaders to play by the rules and not to do anything that would undermine the wishes of the Liberian people", Fomunyoh said of the Economic Community of West African States spearheading mediation.

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.

"Until the rule of law is respected in Liberia, holding a runoff or any election is irrelevant".

Sirleaf's press secretary has denied the meeting was anything other than a normal part of her duties in ensuring a peaceful election.

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

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