Liberia opposition parties to reject poll results

Nine Liberian opposition parties, including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s two main challengers, have said they will reject the results of this week’s presidential election, alleging massive fraud, an opposition official said.

According to results released on Friday, Johnson-Sirleaf had extended her lead with 45.4% of the votes, ahead of Winston Tubman of the CDC party on 29.5% but she was still short of the outright majority required for a first-round win.

“We declare the results being reported by the National Election Commission as fraud and [they] are consequently declared null and void by all parties signatory to this release,” according to a statement read over the phone on Saturday to Reuters by a top CDC official.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the statement had been signed by nine parties representing eight of the country’s 14 presidential candidates, including Tubman and third-placed former rebel Prince Johnson.

An official from the Carter Centre, an election watchdog, said they were aware of the statement and added that they had not seen any evidence of fraud.

The election commission said on Friday that about half the ballots had been counted.

The statement also called on opposition party representatives following counting to withdraw from the process and said that the parties would call on supporters to hold a peaceful rally on Sunday, the official said.

There was no immediate reaction from the election commission.

Voting on Tuesday passed generally peacefully and no observer missions have flagged any serious irregularities in the process so far.

The election was Liberia’s first locally organised poll since an on-and-off 1989-2003 conflict and if smooth could pave the way for billions of dollars in mining and oil investment. — Reuters

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