News / Africa

    Liberian President, Carter Center Say Boycotted Vote Was Fair

    A Liberian man exits a polling booth for the presidential election run-off at Klay town just outside the capital Monrovia, November 8, 2011
    A Liberian man exits a polling booth for the presidential election run-off at Klay town just outside the capital Monrovia, November 8, 2011

    Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says an opposition boycott of Tuesday's run-off election will not undermine the legitimacy of her second term.  Partial election results released Thursday show the president holds a huge lead and is assured of victory.  Election observers from the U.S.-based Carter Center say the vote was largely free and fair.

    President Sirleaf says that low voter turnout for the run-off does not affect the vote's legality.

    “The process is totally legitimate as it meets the requirements of our constitution," she said.

    Speaking to reporters Thursday at Monrovia's Foreign Ministry, the president said she is not concerned by opposition claims that the large numbers of voters who stayed away from the polls weaken her mandate.

    “The numbers themselves will give us a mandate," Sirleaf said. "And I think what we do to bring the Liberian people together will strengthen that mandate.”

    The opposition Congress for Democratic Change party boycotted Tuesday's vote because they say electoral commission workers stuffed ballot boxes and changed vote totals in last month's first round of balloting to give President Sirleaf the lead.  

    The president says if she wanted to steal the election, she would have won outright in the first round instead of having to go to a run-off.

    “It's so common for somebody to call fraud when you don't win," she said. "And that is what has happened.  We are satisfied.  There has been no fraud.  That has been confirmed by all our donor partners.  They are interested in the transparency and free and fairness of this election because they financed it.  And they are not going to put up their money to have fraud.”

    In its preliminary report on the election, observers from the Carter Center say it was conducted in “general accordance with Liberia's legal framework and its international obligations for democratic elections.”

    The observer mission's leader, the former Nigerian head of state Yakubu Gowon, says the opposition party's claims of fraud are without foundation.

    “The CDC's decision to boycott the run-off was based on their unsubstantiated assertion that the first round was significantly flawed," said Gowon. "The boycott denied the Liberian people a genuine choice within a competitive process.”

    The CDC's presidential candidate, former Justice Minister Winston Tubman, has said he will not accept the results from this vote, which are certain to re-elect the president because of his party's boycott.

    Tubman's running mate, the former football star George Weah, says he has no confidence in Carter Center observers because he says they wrongly rejected his claims of vote fraud in the last presidential election.

    “2005 the same Carter Center told us, 'Accept any results.'  In 2005 they said it was free and fair," said Weah. "And we brought all of the tally sheets, all of the same evidence we had.  They said, 'Yes. It is there.  But it is not enough to override the decision.  So no matter what we say here, we will only be repeating ourselves.”

    Weah says election observers have let down Liberian voters by helping legitimize what he calls President Sirleaf's “fraudulent victory.”

    “One day the Carter Center maybe will go for retirement, and we will have another center that believes in democracy and independence and they will speak the truth," he said. "So we are hoping for that.  I hope that day will come.”

    At least two opposition members were killed Monday in a demonstration that was broken up by riot police firing tear gas and live ammunition.  Three opposition radio stations were closed following that violence, including one owned by Weah.

    President Sirleaf says the radio stations were closed because they were broadcasting messages of hate.  She says she regrets the loss of life in Monday's demonstration and the incident will be investigated.

    You May Like

    Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.