Campaigning for Liberia's second round presidential election has begun following Tuesday’s announcement of the final results from the October 11 first round vote.
National Elections Commission Chairman James Fromayan said incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her main rival, Winston Tubman, will face off in a second round vote, scheduled for November 8.
“With the 16 presidential candidates that entered the race, only two got the highest number of votes – the Congress for Democratic Change and the Unity Party. On the basis of that, the two candidates are going for the runoff election on November 8, 2011,” he said.
Fromayan said President Sirleaf won about 44 percent of the vote compared to about 33 percent garnered by former justice minister Tubman.
Former warlord Prince Johnson came in third with about 12 percent of the vote. He has said he would support Mrs. Sirleaf's re-election bid in exchange for a significant role in her government.
Election commission chairman Fromayan also announced the beginning of campaigning for the second round vote.
Earlier Tuesday, Tubman's party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), threatened to boycott the runoff after accusing Fromayan of being a supporter of President Sirleaf and rigging the first round of voting.
Liberia's Runoff Election Campaigning Begins Despite Boycott Threat
A report in one of the local media said about 50,000 CDC partisans have already signed a resolution asking the party not to partake in the runoff pending the outcome of their complaint and demand for the replacement of Chairman Fromanyan and functionaries of the commission.
The resolution was reportedly signed by other opposition parties, including the National Patriotic Party, Liberia Transformation Party, National Democratic Collation, Liberia Reconstruction Party and Grass Root party, among others who witnessed the signing.
Fromayan told VOA Wednesday his commission has received no formal notification of a boycott threat by the CDC.
“We haven’t received any communication from them [CDC] with respect to they disengaging from the process. So, I really can’t speak to that,” Fromayan said.
He said his commission conducted a credible vote in which the CDC won legislative seats.
“Under my chairmanship CDC, has won positions, including the recent election I held on October 11. Some of their partisans won seats in the Senate and in House. So, I think the system we have in place speaks for itself. So I don’t have anything to say in terms of defending myself against what someone may say,” Fromayan said.
Fromayan said his commission has learned some lessons from the first round of balloting which it hopes to improve upon for the runoff.
“Some of the feedback we got from institutions such as ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] and the Carter Center point to the fact that some of our poll workers were actually not up to the task in terms of understanding the process in detail. We can make sure that changes are made before November 8,” Fromayan said.