Liberia’s Supreme Court halts presidential runoff vote

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Presidential run-off in Liberia which was scheduled for Tuesday has been halted by the country’s Supreme Court until the electoral commission investigates claims of fraud in the Oct. 10 first round poll.

According to a ruling read by Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor on Monday to a packed courtroom, the electoral body had been proceeding “wrongly and illegally” to conduct a runoff between ex-soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai while a complaint remained about the October poll.

The country’s National Elections Commission lawyer Musa Dean told The Associated Press that the body will abide by the ruling implying the election has been subsequently postponed.

Third-placed candidate Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party issued a formal complaint on Oct. 27 about widespread irregularities during the poll, delaying the second round vote.

Brumskine and Boakai have accused incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of “interference” and of secretly supporting Weah over her own vice-president, claims she has strongly denied.

The Supreme Court is generally respected in Liberia and many in the country 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.

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