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Africa

Liberian authorities tight-lipped over run-off and electoral roll clean-up

media A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Monrovia for elections on 10 October. Photo: AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo

Liberia’s election commission has yet to make an announcement for the date of the second round run-off vote, four days after a Supreme Court ruling dismissed irregularities that could have forced a re-run. The electoral body is expected to announce a new date for the run-off and outline measures for a technical clean-up of the country’s voter register.

“We are trying to make a decision on that and it will be made very shortly,” Henry Flomo, a spokesperson for the National Elections Commission, told RFI, refusing to be drawn on the likely date for the run-off.

On 7 December, the Supreme Court dismissed allegations of fraud and irregularities, ordering that the run-off vote go ahead. However, it ruled that anomalies with the voter register be corrected through the removal of multiple entries.

“All that will be announced - the commission is working day in, day out to abide by the Supreme Court,” said Flomo, who would not give details about initiatives to clean-up the register. “There are other things that need to accompany the whole process,” he added.

The run-off vote pits former international footballer Senator George Weah against current Vice President Joseph Boakai. The run-off follows a first round on 10 October in which no single candidate gained more than 50 per cent of the vote.

As well as cleaning-up the voter registration list, the election commission has also been ordered to ensure that voter rolls are displayed at each polling. “We have to exhibit the voter roll at all polling centres - 5390 of them,” said Flomo, in discussion of difficulties voters had identifying their polling stations.

The electoral commission held meetings this weekend with the two main political parties contesting the run-off, according to an official from Weah’s opposition Congress for Democratic Change party.

“A subsequent meeting is planned and the elections commission has informed us that they are beginning steps towards implementation of the Supreme Court mandate for the run-off election,” Janga Kowo, CDC Secretary General, told RFI.

“We are awaiting further clarification on the exact meaning of the cleaning of the voters roll because that is not clear,” said Kowo, explaining that the Supreme Court ruling did not specifically detail how the process should be undertaken.

“We are asking them to ensure that they speed up the process of setting a date so that the constitutional date of the transfer of power is not affected by any delays,” said Kowo.

There are some concerns that further delays to the run-off could push back the expected transfer of power from incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Technical staff from the regional Ecowas bloc may help Liberia’s election commission with the clean-up of the voters register, according to local media reports.

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