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Liberian Candidate Weah Seeks Resignation of Electoral Official


The party of Liberian presidential candidate George Weah is demanding the resignation of the country's top election official, saying she was biased toward his opponent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, during Tuesday's runoff election.

Supporters of former soccer-great George Weah rallied at his party headquarters, accusing his opponent Mrs. Sirleaf and election officials of colluding to steal the election.

Mr. Weah's campaign manager Jacob Kabakole demanded the top election official, Frances Johnson Morris, resign. He says statements she made during the voting that Mr. Weah was undermining state security influenced voters.

"If you are a referee, as she is, and you are making statements of one of the candidates in the race prior to voters voting, obviously you are going to influence the voters," he said. "If you are telling me, you all know our society, and you are telling our older voters that this man is threatening the security of the state, his comment will bring war into the country, all these things, you are influencing the choice of voters."

Mr. Kabakole also said the voting process was marred by fraud, but he said he is not ready to back his allegation with evidence.

"Most of the evidence from the field, we are compiling them and very shortly because were very concerned, this party, the leadership, the standard bearer, were very concerned about these irregularities," said Mr. Kabakole. "We are moving as quick as we can to make sure that we can put these things out there as soon as possible."

The top election official, Mrs. Morris, refused to respond, saying Mr. Weah's party, known as the CDC, did not release their grievances directly to her.

"It was not addressed to me. We have procedures in this electoral process, procedures for filing of complaints, post-election complaints, all of that," she said. "There are procedures so I will not address myself to press conferences."

But she urged all Liberians to respect the democratic process peacefully.

"As our democracy evolves, as we cultivate our culture of democracy, we should practice tolerance, we should realize that in a democracy, elections are nothing but a competition, were not at war. In any competition, there are bound to be winners and there are bound to be losers, we should accept it as that," added Mrs. Morris.

The campaign team for the other candidate, Mrs. Sirleaf, said it was encouraged by Tuesday's peaceful and orderly voting, and that unofficial results they were receiving were favorable to them. Mrs. Morris says final results for the second round could be available between three and seven days.

Mrs. Sirleaf was credited with 20 percent in the crowded first round, compared to 28 percent for Mr. Weah. He has a lot of support among poor, illiterate, unemployed, young males, including former combatants, who have said they will be angry if he does not win.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission has said it will do everything to make sure the election process remains peaceful. The new president is to take office in January, ending a transition period, following a quarter century of devastating civil war, military, and corrupt rule.

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