Ex-Soccer Star’s Party Fears Crisis in Liberia Over Election Delay

  • Little evidence to support irregularities charge: CDC chairman
  • Supreme Court halted runoff over voting fraud allegations

A billboard shows CDC party candidate George Weah in Monrovia, on Oct. 13.

Photographer: Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty Images

The Liberian party of the 1995 world soccer player of the year, George Weah, said it’s concerned that a political crisis could ensue if the Supreme Court decides to annul the outcome of the first round of the presidential election that left the country facing a runoff.

Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change raised the matter after the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a runoff may not go ahead until a charge over alleged irregularities in the Oct. 10 vote is heard. The second round was scheduled for Tuesday and would’ve been contested between Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai, of the ruling Unity Party, because neither candidate secured the majority needed for an outright victory to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“We are concerned about attempts by certain members of the Supreme Court’s bench to mis- or wrongfully interpret our constitution, with the view of now creating a constitutional crisis,” CDC Chairman Nathaniel McGill said by phone. “The election should proceed, that’s what we hope for.”

The charge over fraud was brought by Charles Brumskine, the Liberty Party candidate, who was eliminated after winning 9.7 percent of the vote. Boakai, who trailed Weah by almost 10 percentage points in the first round, came out in support of Brumskine and accused Johnson Sirleaf of having improper meetings with election officials.

No Evidence

“While I respect the right to complain, they are not showing any evidence to substantiate their argument,” said McGill. “Everything I’ve seen so far is incorrect. If the election would be annulled, I don’t think Liberians could support it.”

Darryl Ambrose Nmah, a director of the court’s public information division, didn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone.

The complaint is being heard by the National Elections Commission and the Liberty Party has the option to lodge an appeal against the decision with the Supreme Court.

The legal intervention was warranted after attempts to “disenfranchise voters,” Liberty Party Chairman Benjamin Savee said by email on Monday. “We are glad that after listening to our case and reviewing the indisputable evidence, the court agrees.”

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