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Africa

Liberia's President Sirleaf is trying to intimidate me, says run-off candidate Tubman

media Winston Tubman of Liberia's opposition Congress for Democratic Change party … Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly

Liberian opposition presidential candidate Wilson Tubman has accused President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of intimidation after she criticised his call for a boycott of Tuesday’s run-off polls. On Saturday, Sirleaf claimed Tubman’s call violated the constitution and she urged his supporters to stay away from the polls.

 

Tubman says the call for a boycott is “a constitutionally guaranteed right” and an expression of free speech. He has already said he will not recognise the outcome of Tuesday’s poll.

“She wishes to silence me,” he said. “She wishes to intimidate me, to make me afraid to speak.”

Tubman claims the first round of voting on 11 October, when he was placed second with 32.7 per cent of the vote, was flawed by voting irregularities.

He has made several demands for the run-off including that members of his Congress for Democratic Change be allowed to observe the counting process.

Sirleaf, who took 43.9 per cent of the vote in the first round, has since managed to secure the support of key smaller parties for the run-off.

The African Union observer mission to Liberia says it is concerned by Tubman’s call for a boycott, just days ahead of the vote.

"We are very concerned, it's a bad signal.... political leaders must be prepared to win or lose," said the head of the observer mission, former Ugandan vice-president Speciosa Wadira Kazibwe.

 

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