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Liberia Supreme Court indefinitely delays presidential vote

A picture shows the Supreme Court in Monrovia on November 3, 2017. Liberia’s Supreme Court on November 3 said it would decide on November 6 whether a runoff vote for the presidency between former international footballer George Weah and incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai will go ahead, after hearing arguments from an opposition party and the electoral commission. / AFP PHOTO / Zoom DOSSO

Liberia’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered the country’s electoral commission to resolve a fraud complaint lodged by an opposition party before a scheduled runoff vote for the presidency can be held.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Francis Korkpor said the National Elections Commission (NEC) was prohibited “from conducting the runoff election until the complaint filed by the petitioners is investigated,” referring to the opposition Liberty Party.

It did not order a new date for the vote, which was originally to be contested on Tuesday by former international footballer George Weah and incumbent vice-president Joseph Boakai.

The date can only be decided by the electoral commission, once the complaint is resolved, it said.

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

“By setting a date and proceeding to conduct a runoff election without first clearing the complaint of the petitioners which alleged gross irregularities and fraud, the NEC was proceeding contrary to rules which are to be adhered to at all times,” Korkpor said.

The court urged the commission to hear the Liberty Party’s complaint lodged on October 23 and resolve it with “urgent attention”, given the “critical” nature of the presidential vote.

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