Liberia’s ruling party, whose candidate finished runner-up in the first round of this month’s presidential election, said on Sunday it would back a legal challenge to the result, accusing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of interfering in the vote. The extraordinary charge by Unity Party against Johnson Sirleaf, one of its own members, throws into question a second round run-off scheduled for Nov. 7 between its candidate Vice President Joseph Boakai and front-runner George Weah. Unity Party said in a statement that the Oct. 10 poll, meant to usher in Liberia’s first democratic transition of power since 1944, was “characterised by massive systematic irregularities and fraud”. The statement, read to reporters by Unity Party Chairman Wilmont Paye, said Johnson Sirleaf had acted inappropriately by meeting privately with elections magistrates before the vote.
“Greed has resurfaced in its most callous form, sowing seeds of discord yet again with the intent of disrupting the fragile peace of Liberia,” the party said in its statement.
Unity Party officials said they were supporting a legal challenge by Liberty Party of the third-place candidate Charles Brumskine, which has petitioned the elections commission for a re-run of the first round. The All Liberian Party of businessman Benoni Urey also said on Sunday it was backing the complaint.
“It doesn’t mean we will not take part in the (run-off),” Augustine Ngafuan, Unity Party’s national campaign chairman, told Reuters. “We hope the court can rule before the run-off. If not, we will decide what next to do.”