Supreme Court Orders NEC to Proceed With Runoff Election

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Supreme Court on Thursday, December 7 ordered the National Elections Commission to proceed with the presidential runoff election between the Coalition for Democratic Change and Unity Party.

The runoff election was delayed after the court issued a stay order on October 31 following a request by Liberty Party requesting that NEC desist from planning a runoff until the party’s claims of fraud were investigated.

Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, who read the court’s final ruling, said while the complainants presented evidence that showed that NEC had violated certain aspects of the law, they failed to show that the evidence pervaded the entire elections or in most parts of the country.

Banks noted that as important as the evidence was, the fraud and irregularities complained of and shown by the testimonies of the various witnesses were limited and did not indicate a widespread intentional gross conspiracy by NEC.

“The court holds that there is no evidence to show that the violations were in such magnitude to warrant setting aside the results of the October 10 presidential and representatives elections and ordering a re-run,” Banks said.

Women in Peacebuilding Network members listen to the final ruling from on their mobile phones. Photo: Zeze Ballah

Although a re-run was not granted as Liberty Party had requested, the court did direct NEC to clean up and publish the final voter registration roll at all polling places. NEC’s lapse in publishing the roll had been a major issue brought up by Liberty Party and Unity Party.

The Supreme Court also ordered that NEC prohibits from voting, anyone whose name is not found on the voter roll. During the first round of the elections, poll workers had permitted voting for people who possessed voter registration cards but whose names were not on the voter roll.

The court also ordered NEC’s chairman, Jerome Korkoya, and other staff of the commission to refrain from making public statements that may suggest bias in relation to complaints filed with the commission.

In the next couple of days, NEC is expected to evaluate when it can comply with the court’s decisions and announce a date for the runoff election.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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