By Shout-Africa.com/Liberia Elections Report Project – News being reported to Shout-Africa.com from the Liberian capital of Monrovia reveal that Liberia’s main opposition Congress for Democratic Change threatened on Thursday to pull out of a presidential run-off poll if the head of the election commission is not changed.
The party, whose candidate Winston Tubman, 70, is hoping to unseat President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the November poll, has alleged fraud in a first round of voting which saw him finish second with 32.7 percent. “We will not contest if our complaints are ignored and we don’t feel confident,” said CDC deputy campaign manager George Solo, in the presence of former football star George Weah, who is running for vice-president.
He said the party had filed a complaint with the National Elections Commission but was not satisfied with the way it had been addressed. He did not give full details on the alleged fraud.
Over the weekend, the CDC was one of nine parties who threatened to pull out of the process, but Tubman later confirmed he would take part in the second round of voting. Solo said while the party was prepared to contest the run-off they would not follow through if they did not believe in the process.
Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize just days before the country’s second post-war election, came first with 43.9 percent, but failed to win an absolute majority. Allegations of fraud raised tensions in the nation which is hoping to cement its fragile democracy eight years after the end of a savage 14-year conflict which left some 250,000 dead
Meanwhile Liberian President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf vetoed a bill recently passed by lawmakers that sought to give budget support for political parties in the country. The policy discriminates against people who are not members of political parties, Johnson-Sirleaf said in a statement on the presidency’s website.
The funding plan, which called for about $4 million to be distributed to political parties based on their election results, would be difficult for the West African nation to afford given its “scarce and limited financial resources,” according to the statement dated yesterday. Johnson-Sirleaf is vying for a second term in office and will run against Winston Tubman in a second round election scheduled for Nov. 8.