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Liberian Supreme Court green lights presidential run-off

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Liberian Supreme Court green lights presidential run-off

Photo by Reuters
Incumbent Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

8th December 2017

By: African News Agency

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Liberia's Supreme Court has ordered the electoral commission to proceed with a presidential run-off delayed for a month by fraud complaints, but said the national voter register must be corrected of anomalies first, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported on Friday.

"The stay order issued on November 6, 2017 against the NEC [National Elections Commission] is hereby lifted and the NEC is ordered to proceed with the scheduling of the runoff elections in accordance with the constitution," Associate Justice Philip Banks said on Thursday on behalf of the court in Monrovia.

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Following neither two leading presidential candidates, George Weah and current Vice-President Joseph Boakai, receiving the prerequisite 51 percent of the vote in the October 10 elections, under Liberia’s constitution a run-off vote was immediately in the offing.

But this was delayed as incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s ruling Unity Party, and the opposition Liberty Party, called for October’s first round of voting to be annulled on the grounds of irregularities and for fresh elections to be held.

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The Supreme Court put a temporary stay on the poll while the NEC heard the complaints of the parties that came in second and third.

Subsequently their request was denied by the court which said it was "not convinced that burden of proof was met", thereby paving the way for the planned run-off.

The court outlined that neither party petitioning for the fresh elections had been able to prove that fraud was systematic and endemic instead of just a few isolated cases.

International monitors had stated in October that the elections were largely free and fair.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has ordered a technical clean-up of the much-criticised voter registration roll before the second round.

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