THE MAIN OPPOSITION party in Liberia claim to have uncovered “massive fraud” in the country’s presidential election, appealing for international intervention before a second-round ballot is held.
The Congress for Democratic Change claims that the first-round ballot held on Tuesday – in which the newly-crowned Nobel peace prize winner Ellen Sirleaf Johnson fell short of the 50 per cent quota – was hampered by the introduction of 800,000 fraudulent papers.
Party leader Winston Tubman said he was “seriously taken by surprise” after learning of the allegations, but said he had informed the country’s electoral commission of the claims nonetheless.
Tubman appealed to the commission, and to the international community, to take the revelations seriously.
Tubman’s vice-presidential candidate is former AC Milan striker George Weah, who was named FIFA’s world player of the year in 1995. Weah had finished second to Sirleaf when she was elected in 2005.
Sirleaf, of the ruling Unity Party, won Tuesday’s first round of balloting with the support of 44.5 per cent, ahead of Tubman on 26.5 per cent.
Retired general Prince Yormie Johnson, whose campaign video depicted him drinking Budweiser while his henchmen cut off the ears of a man looking like the country’s former leader Samuel Doe, came third with 13.5 per cent.
Both Tubman and Sirleaf are expected to lobby hard for Johnson’s support in the coming weeks.
Those results are provisional, pending the thorough examination of every ballot paper – of the 210,000 ballots verified so far, around 7 per cent were deemed void or invalid in some way. The final results are not expected for another fortnight.
Tubman had already accused the Nobel prize committee of unfairly influencing the outcome of the election, with Sirleaf’s award being announced only a week before polling was to take place.
Additional reporting by AP