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Africa
Liberian opposition to boycott run-off
Opposition threatens to pull out out of run-off unless "free, fair and transparent electoral process" is put into place.
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2011 05:25
Accusations of irregularites have raised tensions in Liberia in election that have been otherwise peaceful [Reuters]

Liberia's main opposition party says it is boycotting the November presidential election run-off unless a set of demands are addressed.

George Solo, deputy campaign manager for the Congress for Democratic Change, said late on Monday evening that the party is demanding that the head of the electoral body be changed.

He said the the opposition will boycott the second round of elections if the methods they demanded for a free, fair and transparent process are not put into place.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the incumbent president, will face Winston Tubman in the November 8 run-off.


Sirleaf was Africa's first democratically elected female president. She is viewed abroad as a Harvard-trained reformer but Tubman's camp portrays her as out of touch with the impoverished population.

In another development,  Liberia's election commission released final election results on Tuesday, confirming that Sirleaf and rival Winston Tubman will face off in a second round vote.

Previously 99.9 per cent of results from an October 11 presidential, legislative and senatorial election had been released, and nothing changed in the final results which saw Sirleaf place first with 43.9 per cent of votes.

"None of the 16 candidates could obtain the absolute majority that is 50 per cent of the votes plus one vote. Winston Tubman of the CDC and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the UP will go for a run-off scheduled for November 8," James Fromayan, the polls chief, said.

In second place, Tubman of the Congress for Democratic Change received 32.7 per cent of the votes.

Prince Johnson, a former warlord who came in third with 11.6 per cent, has already announced he will support Sirleaf's re-election bid in the run-off, but is demanding 30 percent of government in exchange.

Division of votes

Out of 15 senatorial seats up for grabs, the ruling Unity Party won four seats, the National Patriotic Party of Charles Taylor, the former warlord turned president, won four, and the CDC two, with the rest going to several smaller parties.

MORE ON LIBERIAN ELECTIONS
 
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  Profile: Charles Taylor
  Country Profile: Liberia
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Taylor is currently facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his past role in the civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Of 73 seats in parliament, the main victors are the UP with 24 seats, the CDC 11, Prince Johnson's National Union for Democratic Progress won six and the NPP three.

Tubman has threatened to pull out of the run-off election claiming fraud and irregularities, if the head of the National Election Commission is not changed.

Fromayan said the commission was examining these complaints which "will not affect the results" and had invited the CDC to a hearing Wednesday to present its evidence.

The accusations raised tensions in the country which is marking only its second election since the end of a brutal 14-year conflict which ended in 2003, leaving some 250,000 dead.

With the announcement of final results, the elections commission declared campaigning for the run-off officially open.

Source:
Agencies
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