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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More