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Liberia tense amid vote standoff

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Firmly in the ring: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (left) with her supporters in Monrovia on Sunday. — PHOTO: AFP
Firmly in the ring: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (left) with her supporters in Monrovia on Sunday. — PHOTO: AFP

Liberian incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's party vowed on Sunday that she would contest a run-off presidential vote even if the opposition boycotts the polls, fanning fears of new violence in the war-torn west African country.

“If the opposition wants to boycott the process, that will not stop the process,” Unity Party campaign director Musa Bility told AFP after the opposition on Saturday rejected as “flawed” provisional results of the October 11 vote placing Ms. Sirleaf in the lead.

“For us there will be a second round” between Ms. Sirleaf, this year's Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, and former diplomat Winston Tubman of the Congress for Democratic Change, Mr. Bility said. “It will be the CDC and the UP.”

In a joint statement on Saturday, Liberia's nine opposition parties declared the results “null and void,” said their agents would withdraw from the National Elections Commission and warned: “If the process continues we will not accept the results.”

The statement also claimed there was “a calculated and deliberate act by NEC to rig these elections in favour of President Johnson Sirleaf and the Unity Party.”

Ms. Sirleaf (72) was in the lead with nearly 45 per cent of the vote, followed by Mr. Tubman with 31 per cent and the former warlord, Prince Johnson, on 11.2 per cent in the latest results from 71 per cent of the ballots. — AFP


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