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Liberia’s Election in Peril, Supreme Court Puts Indefinite Hold On Run-off: Constitutional Crisis Looms



By Socrates Symthe Saywon


Monrovia, Liberia- The Supreme Court of Liberia, today granted a Stay Order the country’s November 7th run-off election requested by the Liberty Party.

The Liberty Party requested a stay on the run-off election on grounds that the party had filed a protestation of the October 10th election with the National Election Commission-NEC citing widespread irregularities and fraud and seeking rerun and the Commission had not completed adjudicating its complaint as required by law but was holding the run-off when the case is ongoing and the party had not exhausted the legal process.

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a temporary stay on the run-off and all election activities and summoned the National Election Commission to show cause why a stay order on the run-off should not be granted.

The hearing took place last Friday and the Supreme Court announced the ruling would come today.

The Liberty Party is contesting the result of the October 10th election on grounds of widespread irregularities and fraud and asking for a rerun of the election.

Cllr Charles Brumskine, a prominent Liberian lawyer and Standard Bearer of the Liberty Party, speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation-BBC last week, said widespread irregularities and fraud characterized the October 10th election.

The Liberty Party Standard Bearer told the BBC that his party uncovered ballots  from across the country buried in the ground and ballot boxes broken and unsealed though those ballot boxes were sealed after the votes count before observers and party agents.

Chairman Jerome Korkoya of the National Election Commission at a press conference on last Wednesday, responded to the high Court’s Summon, told the press that Liberty Party’s claims of irregularities and fraud, were fabricated and the irregularities were not grave to warrant the the stay of the run-off and rerun of the October 10th election.

Four other political parties later joined the Liberty Party complaint, including the ruing Unity Party, All Liberians Party, Alternative National Congress and a smaller party.

Unity Party’s Chairman, Wilmot Paye accused President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  of rigging the election for the opposition party’s candidate, football icon, Senator George Weah” while Cllr Brumskine told the BBC, “the election was long held and winner determined before the October 10th election evident by the widespread irregularities which among many, included ballot papers not having serial numbers to detect fraud and the company awarded the contract to print the ballots were not awarded the contract in conformity with the laws of Liberia”.

The ruling of the Supreme Court putting a stay on the run-off election that was scheduled for tomorrow pending the adjudication of the Liberty Party’s complaint with the National Election Commission-NEC and full exhaustion of the legal process, is setting Liberia up for a constitutional crisis as time constraint  and the legal process could be more complicated  and two months might not be enough and the Sirleaf’s government could run out of its constitutional authority to continue to remain in power as she would lose the legitimacy  to govern and the government would be forced to dissolve.







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