Liberia’s election commission chief has resigned after accusations of bias in the recent presidential elections and just days before a planned presidential runoff. “I chose to step down for the sake of Liberia and so that (challenger Winston Tubman’s) CDC [Congress for Democratic Change] would not have an excuse not to participate in the run-off,” James Fromayan told the Reuters news agency on Sunday.
Tubman last week threatened to withdraw from the November 8 run-off, the country’s second post-war vote, unless there was a change of leadership at the election commission. Fromayan, who has denied any wrong-doing, said he would be replaced by Elizabeth Nelson, his deputy, but he said he did not know it would be a permanent arrangement. There was no immediate reaction from Tubman’s camp.
… George Solo, the CDC campaign manager, said one of the party’s complaints was that ballot papers had been pre-marked. “We presented photos of ballot boxes which had been tampered with by NEC employees,” he told the AFP news agency.
“We also have the issue of tally sheets scratched out and their numbers changed. Old people wanted to vote for certain people but NEC workers were not … assisting them.
“The ink which was used was not an instant dry which made lots of votes invalid. These are all things that should have been done differently and properly.”
The fraud accusations raised tensions in the country which was devastated by a 14-year civil war, which ended in 2003, leaving some 250,000 dead. The election was marred by violence with the office of Unity Party and that of a radio station seen as pro-opposition torched after preliminary results showed Sirleaf was leading.