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Liberia’s vice-president urged election body to probe irregularities

WEST AFRICA – Joseph Nyumah Boakai, the experienced and admired vice president of Liberia, has called on the country’s electoral commission to investigate irregularities in the October 10 presidential election.  The vice president is also urging the commission to re-publish registered voters’ names ahead of a November runoff poll.

Vice President Boakai is running for president on the ruling Unity Party ticket against former international footballer George Weah.

In a prepared statement, the vice president said he is “asking the NEC to speedily look into complaints made by three political parties.”

Unlike other presidential candidates who took part in the October 10 pool, Vice President Boakai has not made an official complaint to the National Elections Commission (NEC) even though other candidates from the opposition Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress (ANC) and All Liberian Party (ALP) have all made claims of irregularities and fraud following the vote.

Vice President Boakai is also “demanding the NEC make a full publication of the voter roster,” his spokesman said.   This request follows concerns with recognizing citizens in possession of valid voting cards.

In the vote tally, Boakai got 28.8 percent of ballots cast to Weah’s 38.4 percent on October 10, leading to a runoff as no candidate gained the required 50 percent to win in the first round.

Charles Brumskine, the candidate of the Liberty Party who got 9.6 percent of the votes, was the first to file a legitimate complaint on Monday with the NEC, contending that legitimate voters were not allowed to cast their ballots.  Brumskine also recorded 10 incidents of fraud, along with other irregularities.

The Liberty Party’s leader called for the October 10 vote to be annulled and a re-run is held “in order to ensure that fair and transparent elections are held in accordance with the Constitution,” he said.

These complaints pose a serious problem for Weah and Boakai, who are campaigning for the votes ahead of the November runoff.

The irregularities and complaints also put pressure on the foreign and domestic electoral observers who have themselves recorded similar problems and concerns.

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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.

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