Supreme Court upholds Liberty Party prohibition on election runoff poll

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The ruling means that the presidential runoff election slated for November 7 will not take place and a new date will only be set once Liberty Party's complaint is investigated by NEC.

A presidential election run-off in Liberia scheduled for Tuesday will be delayed by a Supreme Court fraud investigation, the National Elections Commission (NEC) said on Friday. Garnering 9.7 percent of the votes, the Liberty Party candidate ranked third after the initial vote, eliminating him from the subsequent run-off ballot.

Leading the challenge in court, Charles Brumskine, the candidate of the opposition Liberty Party, alleged the October 10 presidential election was fraught with fraud and irregularities and called on the National Elections Commission to suspend the second-round voting until its case has been heard.

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The court held that the "NEC can not designate two presidential tickets for a run-off elections when the issue of the votes they received is still shrouded in allegations of invalidity".

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"The efforts to disenfranchise voters and undermine Liberia's democracy were grave enough to warrant intervention from the Supreme Court, and we are glad that after listening to our case and reviewing the indisputable evidence, the court agrees", said Liberty Party chairman Benjamin Sanvee, celebrating the ruling.

"This is not about winning or losing, this is about a system that has held the country hostage for years", Brumskine added, following his assertion in an interview with AFP on Thursday that the NEC's commissioners should all be sacked before any new poll.

The Unity Party are backing the legal challenge against the initial vote.

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

In parallel, Boakai and Brumskine have accused Sirleaf of "interfering" in the elections by meeting polling officials at her residence ahead of the vote, though her press secretary has said the talks were "consistent with her constitutional role".

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