The presidential runoff election planned for Tuesday in Liberia is postponed until further notice, following a Supreme Court decision that directs the National Election Commission to investigate complaints originally filed by Liberty Party candidate Charles Brumskine.
The court’s decision at the eleventh hour follows accusations made in the wake of Liberia’s peaceful October 10 elections. The final vote tallies gave George Weah, a former football star and Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) presidential candidate, a 38.4 percent share of the vote to 28.8 percent for the ruling Unity Party candidate Joseph Boakai. Perennial contender Brumskine finished third.
Under the Liberian constitution, a second-round runoff is required when no candidate achieves more than 50 percent. That Weah-Boakai matchup is postponed following Brumskine’s complaints of gross irregularities and fraud, which were quickly supported by the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and All Liberian Party candidates who joined in challenging results.
Developments took an even darker turn when Boakai and the Unity Party joined in the allegations, and on October 29 accused outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of helping to rig an election in favor of Weah, just two days before the court’s ruling was initially expected. The UP complained of a “secret” meeting between the president and NEC officials in early October, prompting NEC head Jerome Korkoya to confirm the meeting occurred but insist that there was no hidden agenda or improper influence.
Liberia’s Supreme Court urged the NEC to complete a thorough investigation as quickly as possible, before moving forward to either annul results of the original election or schedule the expected runoff.