One of Liberia’s main par­ties calls for halt to elec­tion re­sults

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

MONROVIA — One of Liberia’s lead­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties called for a halt in an­nounc­ing the re­sult of Tues­day’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, cit­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the vote.

The Lib­erty Party, whose can­di­date Charles Brum­sk­ine was con­sid­ered a front-runner to take over from No­bel Peace Prize win­ner Ellen John­son Sir­leaf, said it would con­sider tak­ing le­gal ac­tion if the Na­tional Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (NEC) did not act on its de­mands. The NEC was orig­i­nally ex­pected to re­lease pre­lim­i­nary re­sults yes­ter­day.

“The Lib­erty Party is deeply trou­bled by the dis­cov­ery of nu­mer­ous in­ci­dents of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and fraud that oc­curred dur­ing the elec­tions,” Lib­erty Party na­tional chair­man Ben­jamin San­vee said.

“We are call­ing on NEC to im­me­di­ately halt fur­ther an­nounce­ments of elec­tion re­sults. If NEC does not co­op­er­ate with our re­quest, we will take the ap­pro­pri­ate le­gal ac­tion,” he said.

He did not give spe­cific ev­i­dence of voter fraud and it was un­clear what kind of ac­tiv­ity could have al­tered Tues­day’s vote.

An NEC spokesman told Reuters that it was un­aware of the Lib­erty Party’s com­plaint and did not say whether the com­mis­sion be­lieved il­le­gal acts oc­curred.

On elec­tion day, ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing bal­lot boxes ar­rived late in some lo­ca­tions and some peo­ple strug­gled to find their names on voter rolls, wit­nesses said, but there was so far no ev­i­dence that this was linked to il­licit ac­tiv­ity.

Any ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties would taint the re­sults of an elec­tion ex­pected to mark the first demo­cratic trans­fer of power in over seven decades in a coun­try haunted by a civil war that ended nearly 15 years ago.

Liberia, Africa’s old­est mod­ern repub­lic, was founded by freed US slaves in 1847 but its last demo­cratic power trans­fer dates back to 1943.

John­son Sir­leaf, Africa’s first elected fe­male pres­i­dent, won a sur­prise vic­tory in 2005 fol­low­ing a post-war tran­si­tion. She was re-elected in 2011 but is barred from seek­ing an­other term.—Reuters

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