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Politics News

Runoff to be held after X’mas

Multiple sources within the corridor of the National Elections Commission or NEC have told this paper that the runoff scheduled between Vice President Joseph Boakai and Senator George Weah is not likely to take place until after Christmas given the mandate of the Supreme Court that the electoral body clean up the voters’ roster.

“NEC cannot put a time frame on the holding of the run off until it cleans up the voters’ roll,” one source told this writer Sunday.The Supreme Court Friday 8 December gave NEC a go ahead to schedule the conduct of the prolonged presidential runoff between the two top candidates in the October 10 polls after denying Liberty Party’s request for a re-run of the said poll after it cited fraud and irregularities.

“That notwithstanding our findings that indeed there were some irregularities, fraud and violations of the New Elections Law, as well as the Rules and Regulations of the NEC, we hold that there is no evidence to show that those violations were in such magnitude that they rose to such level to warrant setting aside results of the Presidential and Representatives Elections held on October 10, 2017,” the court said in its final decision read by Associate Justice Phillip A.Z. Banks on Thursday, 7 December.

The decision to uphold NEC’s ruling and gives it the go ahead for a run-off was taken by majority of the Justices with one dissenting opinion. However, with this decision Friday, many here had thought that NEC would have gone ahead to immediately announce a runoff date.

But expert sources told this paper Sunday that NEC would first have to find the people with duplicated numbers and clean up the entire system as mandated by the Supreme Court.

The sources said given the technicality of the things that NEC has been mandated to do; it may not be possible to hold the runoff before the festive Christmas season.

“They have to as I said find the people with the duplicated numbers, and publish the voters roll at the over 5000 polling centers before announcing the date of the runoff,” another source added.

The ruling Unity Party and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change were scheduled to face off in a runoff on 7 November before a Supreme Court order halted the process on the eve of the runoff.

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The Supreme Court said it agrees that the protesting parties presented some evidence in respect of certain violations, but it observes that the parties failed to show that the evidence pervaded the entire spectrum of the elections throughout or in a considerably wide or most parts of the country. All eyes and ears are now set on NEC to announce the time table leading to the conduct of the delayed runoff.

By Othello B. Garblah

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