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Parties delay hearings, not NEC

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The United States Atlanta based Carter Center issued a statement here Monday November 6, ahead of the Supreme Court decision to uphold a stay order on the presidential run-off which had been scheduled for November 7, 2017 saying, it is the political parties which are delaying the hearings not the National Elections Commission or NEC.

“With one exception, the NEC has granted complainants’ requests to submit documentary evidence and call witnesses. The Center further notes that delays in these proceedings have often been caused by the political parties themselves requesting additional time or not being fully prepared at the time of the hearing,” the Carter Center said in a statement issued on Monday.

The Center’s statement comes amidst public perception that NEC is delaying the conduct of the runoff elections by deliberately refusing to depose of the electoral complaints before it in time.

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On Monday the Supreme Court issued a peremptory writ of prohibition requested by Liberty Party (LP) Charles Walker Brumskine, indefinitely suspending the conduct of a presidential runoff which had been due between opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) Sen. George Manneh Weah and ruling Unity Party (UP’s) candidate, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai on 7 November.

The LP had complaint of fraud and irregularities in the 10 October 2017 polls which witnessed a massive turned out, a move that signifies explicit confidence in NEC by the voting populace. The LP had run to the superior court requesting a halt to the runoff, until deputes before the electoral body has been deposed of.

But the Carter Center in its statement said of the hearings that to date, all parties to the complaints have been given sufficient time to prepare their cases and be heard before the adjudicating bodies but the political parties have often come unprepared employing delay tactics.

However, the Center reminded politicians here to reaffirm their commitments to a peaceful process and ensure that their supporters maintain calm and exercise patience as they await resolution of electoral disputes.

“All Liberians must remain committed to ensuring a peaceful democratic transition from one government to another. Although the timing for the remainder of the electoral process is now uncertain, and continued delays could raise concerns about constitutionally mandated (and) timeframes,” the Center said while indicating that it has been encouraged by Liberian voices that have pledged to put Liberia first and ensure that the peace is upheld.

The Center further reminded political parties saying “it is crucial that electoral dispute-resolution processes are evidence-based to allow for a credible assessment of the impact the alleged issues would have on the results and on the ability of the people to express their will. In this regard, the Center commends the NEC for ensuring transparency throughout the tabulation process and notes that the results by polling station have been posted on the NEC website for public scrutiny.

The Carter Center urges all political parties with pending disputes before the NEC or the Supreme Court to do their part to ensure efficiency in the process. Similarly, the Center urges the NEC and the Supreme Court to review all matters expeditiously.”

The Center commends repeated calls by The Coalition for Democratic Change for its supporters to maintain the peace, allow the proper institutions to do their work, and wait for the run-off.

“The mission remains in the country to observe the ongoing electoral dispute-resolution process and the run-off and will continue to report on its observations,” the statement concluded.


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