The Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya says at a very short press conference that a presidential run-off election is now scheduled between ruling Unity Party (UP) and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) for 26 December.
The declaration of the runoff between the UP and CDC on Tuesday, 12 December, comes after the process hads been delayed by little over a month due to a case of alleged fraud and irregularities filed against the outcome of the first round’s results by defeated opposition Liberty Party (LP) and the UP.
Both the NEC and the Supreme Court refused to grant LP’s request to nullify the results declared from the October polls in order to do a rerun of the entire polls, though the Commission was ordered by the Court to do a cleansing of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) ahead of the scheduled runoff.
Chairman Korkoya stormed the James Fromoyan Conference Room at the NEC Headquarters Tuesday very serious and announced the voting date to the media straight away.
He immediately walked out of the conference hall upon announcing the date of the runoff without taking questions from reporters who had gathered expecting an interaction with the NEC boss.
The Supreme Court halted the conduct of the runoff on 6 November, the eve of the vote due between CDC and UP to allow NEC investigate claims levied by the LP.
With the decisions of the Supreme Court and the NEC, runoff is now set between former soccer legend turned politician Sen. George Manneh Weah and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
The two candidates obtained the highest percentages among 20 presidential candidates that contested the polls in October. None of the candidates obtained 50 percent plus one vote to be declared winner of the polls at the first round as demanded by Liberia’s Constitution. Mr. Weah secured 38.4 percent of the vote while Mr. Boakai obtained 28.8 percent.
A number of international elections observers, including representatives of the Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute, said the October 10 elections were largely free and fair, despite a few irregularities at some polling stations.
Following weeks of legal battle, the Supreme Court lifted the prohibition and ordered the officials of the NEC to conduct the run-off election.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley