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Liberia vice-president asks election body to probe irregularities

Liberian Vice President and presidential candidate Joseph Boakai prepares to cast his vote at a polling station in Monrovia during presidential and legislatives elections on October 10, 2017. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO

Liberia’s vice-president has called on the electoral commission to probe irregularities in an October 10 presidential election and re-publish registered voters’ names ahead of a runoff poll next month.

Joseph Boakai, who is running for president on the ruling Unity Party ticket against former international footballer George Weah, is “asking the NEC to speedily look into complaints made by three political parties,” his spokesman Mohammed Ali told AFP on Tuesday.

Boakai has not made a formal complaint to the National Elections Commission (NEC), but candidates from the opposition Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress (ANC) and All Liberian Party (ALP) have all made allegations of irregularities and fraud following the vote.

The vice-president is also “demanding the NEC make a full publication of the voter roster,” Ali said, following problems with identifying citizens in possession of valid voting cards.

Boakai took 28.8 per cent of ballots cast to Weah’s 38.4 percent on October 10, triggering a runoff as no candidate gained the required 50 percent to win in the first round.

The Liberty Party of Charles Brumskine, who took 9.6 percent of votes, was the first to file an official complaint on Monday with the NEC, alleging that legitimate voters could not cast their ballots and recording 10 incidents of fraud, along with other irregularities.

Brumskine has called for the October 10 vote to be annulled and is seeking a re-run “in order to ensure that fair and transparent elections are held in accordance with the Constitution,” according to his complaint seen by AFP.

The complaints pose a problem for Weah and Boakai, who are campaigning for the votes of Liberians who did not choose them in the first round, as the losing candidates are refusing to endorse either man until the NEC review the allegations.

The problem also throws heat on foreign and domestic electoral observers who recorded some of the same problems but proclaimed the elections free and fair.



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