By JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia’s Supreme Court on Monday halted the presidential election runoff, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, until the National Elections Commission investigates allegations of irregularities and fraud in the first round.
Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor said the electoral body had been proceeding “wrongly and illegally” to conduct a runoff between former international soccer superstar George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai while a complaint remained about the October poll.
The two placed first and second in the October vote to replace Africa’s first female president, neither garnering the more than 50 percent needed to win the election outright.
The Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine came in third place, had appealed to the court to halt the runoff vote until the claims of irregularities are investigated. He and the party argued the Oct. 10 first round was marked by fraud and petitioned the court to compel the election commission to investigate their complaints.
Preparations for the Nov. 7 runoff had been halted until the court decision and are now on indefinite hold.
National Elections Commission lawyer Musa Dean told The Associated Press “the highest court of the land has spoken and we have to abide by the ruling.”
Chief Justice Korkpor confirmed that a runoff date will not be set until the commission has dealt with the irregularities complaint filed by the Liberty Party. He said that if the Liberty Party appeals the findings of the commission’s investigation, it must await the appeal process before the election can resume.
Brumskine last week told The Associated Press the election process is completely corrupted and that he looks forward to a rerun of the October vote, in which 20 candidates vied to replace Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.