The National Elections Commission (NEC) has now declared December 26, 2017 as the new date for the much anticipated runoff election between presidential candidate of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George Weah and the Unity Party (UP) of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai following decision by the Supreme Court of Liberia ruling calling on the NEC to ‘immediately’ begin the process that will lead to the runoff election.
Making the announcement today, December 12, 2017, the Chairman of the NEC, Jerome Korkoya said the NEC will fully implement in a transparent manner all of the 8-count mandate and order given the electoral body in its ruling last Thursday. The runoff campaign opens immediately and it will close at mid night on Sunday, December 24.
In line with the court’s mandate, the NEC Chairman disclosed that the ECOWAS Technical mission that recently investigated the Commission’s database are returning to Liberia today, Tuesday “to provide assistance needed to carry out the Supreme Court’s mandate.”
Among other things, the Supreme Court ordered NEC to clean up the Final voter Registration Roll (FRR), publish in hard copy and circulate them to all the NEC magisterial areas and polling center across Liberia, before the conduct of any runoff poll.
Chairman Korkoya urged all registered Liberian voters to turn up in their numbers to cast their ballots on December 26.
“We realize that it’s just a day after Christmas day, but I call on voters to make the sacrifice…,” the NEC boss said.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no evidence to warrant the annulment of the October 10, 2017 elections, ordering the National Elections Commission (NEC) to go ahead with the runoff but after taking certain corrective measures.
The opposition Liberty Party (LP) of Cllr. Charles Brumskine and the ruling Unity Party (UP) of Vice President Joseph Boakai had filed Bill of Exception against NEC Board of Commissioner’s dismissal of their complaints.
They alleged that the first round of elections was marred by massive fraud, violations of the electoral laws and the constitution, disenfranchisement of voters and other voting irregularities.
“We do not see the evidence in the records before us,” the Court said in its 126-page opinion, read by Justice Philip Z. Banks.
The country’s highest court then ordered NEC to go ahead with the conduct of the runoff presidential election, but put certain corrective measures in place to prevent some of the lapses that occurred during the first round of voting.
Those who are allowed to vote in subsequent elections must be limited to only registered voters whose names are on the FFR or the official manual, while poll watchers and other poll workers not on the list at a given polling place must not be allowed to vote.
In addition, the Supreme Court has prohibited NEC Commissioners and other officials not to make public pronouncements relative to cases on issues before the electoral body.
As a result of NEC’s announcement today, Liberians in Monrovia and its environs who spoke to our team of reporters expressed excitement on the decision by the NEC to declare and announce the new date of the runoff election.