Liberia president frustrated over runoff election delay

November 8, 2017

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia’s president said Wednesday “our democracy is under assault” as the runoff election to replace her is delayed indefinitely by a court after allegations of voting fraud.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president, expressed her frustration in a radio address played on repeat. It was her first public statement since the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday ordering that the Nov. 7 runoff vote be postponed.

The court has told the National Elections Commission to investigate the complaint about the October vote lodged by the Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine placed third.

Vice President Joseph Boakai was meant to face international soccer star George Weah in the runoff.

Separate from the legal petition, the Liberty Party and the governing Unity Party of Boakai have accused Sirleaf of being involved in an effort to manipulate the election’s outcome. Some ruling party supporters have also accused the outgoing president of supporting Weah over Boakai, who came second in the October vote.

The president’s office has denied the allegations.

In her address, Sirleaf said democracy is only as strong as it weakest link and at these moments, “our democracy is under assault, our country’s reputation is under assault, our economy is under stress.”

She urged fellow politicians to “do better,” pointing out that the October election saw 73 percent of registered voters turn out to cast their ballots in a show of confidence in the electoral process and in the West African country’s future.

The comments by Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, received much attention in Liberia, with some on social media and elsewhere implying that she was speaking against the court action

But Sirleaf’s press secretary, Jerolinmek Piah, said the president’s comments were not aimed at those seeking legal action over the election.

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