Liberia holds breath as court rules on presidential vote

George Weah former soccer player and presidential candidate of Congress for Democratic Change, votes at a polling station in Monrovia

No new date has been set for the poll which was scheduled for 7 November.

In a writ issued late on Tuesday, Liberia's Supreme Court instructed the Liberty Party of third-placed Charles Brumskine, who made the complaint, and the National Elections Commission, to file briefs by Thursday.

In his ruling Monday, one day to the earlier scheduled presidential run-off on November 7, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor of the Supreme Court said the electoral body ought to have investigated the claims by the disgruntled political parties before it reached the Supreme Court.

Ex global footballer George Weah was to face-off with incumbent vice-president Joseph Boakai. Back in 2005, Weah lost in a presidential runoff to Sirleaf despite winning more votes in the first round.

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This time, however, the CDC accused Boakai of "trying to steal the elections from the Liberian people after over 40 years in power", in a statement emailed to journalists on October 31, after the vice president announced he would back Brumskine's actions.

Brumskine last week told The Associated Press last week he looks forward to a rerun of the October vote, in which 20 candidates vied to replace Nobel Peace Prize victor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Worldwide donors have poured billions into Liberia since Sirleaf was elected in 2005, and are eager to complete what will be the country's first democratic transition in seven decades, while watching nervously from the sidelines.

Wilmot Paye, the chairman of Unity Party, said his party's leadership is glad because the responsibility of upholding democracy rests with the Supreme Court.

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Many Liberians view the country with political class with suspicion.

The court found on Monday that the NEC had acted contrary to the law in declaring Weah and Boakai the top two candidates following an October 10 first round election while a question mark over the validity of the votes was pending.

"Liberians are people who do not want problems".

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

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Boakai's Unity Party signed a letter accusing the president of "interference" by meeting polling officials at her home before the election, and he maintains "there is a reason to raise qualms" if the meeting was indeed at her residence. "It is also not a petition to determine whether they can be an interim arrangement", he said.


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