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All Is Set For Liberia’s Run-off Polls Today

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All is set for today’s presidential run-off election in Liberia, according to the country’s National Elections Commission (NEC).

Spokesman of the commission, Mr Henry Flomo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Monrovia yesterday that the electoral umpire had done everything “humanly possible’’ for a smooth process.

He said the commission had fully carried out the Supreme Court’s directives on the exercise, including cleaning up the voter register and publishing it at polling centres across the country.

“We are in the final stage; we have done everything humanly possible and we are sure of a smooth process tomorrow.

“With the help of ECOWAS technical team, yes we did that (cleaning of the voter register) days ago and we have also completed other mandates that say we should post them before election.

“We completed that since Friday. As we speak people should have no problem now locating their rooms (voting points) because the background for that was for people to know which room they belong to.’’

One of the issues in the first round of elections on Oct. 10 was the inability of many voters to locate their right voting points because the voters’ register was not displayed ahead at polling centres ahead of the exercise as required by law.

A NAN correspondent, who visited one of the polling centres at Calvary Chapel Mission School in the capital Monrovia, observed that the register was pasted on the walls of the school’s main building.

On November 1, the Supreme Court of Liberia halted preparations for the run-off earlier slated for Nov. 7 to hear complaints filed by the presidential candidate of the opposition Liberty Party (LP).

The LP flag bearer, Mr Charles Brumskine, who came third in the first round of the elections on Oct. 10, had alleged massive fraud and irregularities in the exercise.

The ruling Unity Party (UP) and its presidential candidate, Vice President Joseph Boakai, joined Brumskine in his call for a rerun of the election.

Ruling on the case on Dec. 7, 2017, the apex court acknowledged there were irregularities in the Oct. 10 polls as alleged by the complainants.

But it held that level was not sufficient to warrant the cancellation of the results as requested.

The court, however, mandated NEC to do several things before the run-off to ensure compliance with the standards of publication of the voter register known as Final Register Roll (FRR).

It ordered the commission to clean up the FRR to ensure that multiple names of identification numbers were removed from the FRR.

NEC was also ordered to make the FRR available in hard copies to all Election Magistrates and polling places across the country as well as prevent those whose names are not found in the FRR from voting.

The commission spokesman said that less than 90 names were taken out of the FRR in the cleanup.

“Not many names, just few, very few, less than 90 names were taken out because that was part of the Supreme Court mandate that we remove names that have multiple numbers’’

“But we didn’t remove all of them. Some were maintained and given new cards.

“We have a breakdown of the implementation of the roadmap that was agreed upon by the parties, NEC and the ECOWAS team, and they are satisfied with that.’’

On the difference between the first round of elections and the run-off, the NEC spokesman said the winner would emerge in the run-off through a simple majority.

“The difference is, according to our law, to have a clear-cut winner in the first round, a party or candidate should have 50 per cent plus one vote, that is absolute majority.

“If you don’t have an absolute majority, you have a second round of election, which we call run-off, and then the person with the highest votes can now win.

“So tomorrow, the absolute majority will not apply any more. It will now be simple majority,’’ he explained.

The run-off is between former World Football Player of the Year, Sen. George Weah, and incumbent Vice President, Boakai.

Both men are battling to succeed outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose constitutional two terms in office will end in January.

Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), led 21 other presidential candidates in the first round with 38 per cent of the total votes cast, while Boakai came second with 29 per cent.

By NAN



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