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Liberia's Election Commission Says Weah Threatening Security


Liberia's election commission says the losing candidate in November presidential elections, football legend George Weah, is threatening state security, after repeatedly saying he is the rightful winner.

Election commission head Frances Johnson Morris says Mr. Weah is violating electoral laws by making such statements and could be taken to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.

On voting day, Mrs. Morris had already warned Mr. Weah, calling him a young man and reckless, bringing the ire of the former world footballer of the year.

Mr. Weah's own lawyers are now preparing an appeal with the Supreme Court, after the election commission on Friday rejected claims by his party that there was massive tampering on voting day, November 8.

Statements by Mr. Weah that he should have won both the first and second round in a landslide, rather than losing by nearly 20 percentage points in the decisive tally to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, have provoked outrage at the headquarters of his party, known as the CDC.

Monrovia-based journalist David Targbe says based on what the election commission said Friday, Mr. Weah's case appears thin.

"What the election commission said, most of the evidence given by the CDC witnesses were based on hearsay," he said. "The presiding officer Joseph Blidi first quoted before you are convicted of a crime at least two witnesses must be able to testify that you did it."

Mr. Targbe says outside the CDC, people are growing tired of the protest and want Liberia to move away from its past of discord and violence.

"People outside the CDC, we are all saying it's a waste of time on the part of the party and that whatever they do will not change the situation so they should forget this thing for Liberia's sake and work along with the incoming government," added Mr. Targbe.

But, Mr. Weah has said it is unfair elections that have brought Liberia to its current state of gross underdevelopment and constant conflict.

In one speech, he vowed to block inauguration ceremonies set for January 16. He also toured parts of Africa, pleading his case, meeting recently with former South African President Nelson Mandela and current president of war divided Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo.

International monitors have said voting appeared to be free and fair, but Mr. Weah's supporters, many of them young, former combatants, allege cheating took place when they were not watching.

Monday in Monrovia, the election commission is due to certify the presidential vote as well as legislative results from the October poll. Elected lawmakers from Mr. Weah's party have threatened to boycott the new two-chamber congress, but the U.N. peacekeeping mission which helped organize the vote, said if that is the case, it will quickly organize by-elections to fill those seats.

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