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Electoral board denies protesting Liberian parties' appeal

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Monrovia, Liberia, November 25 (Infosplusgabon) - The Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Friday denied an appeal by two parties against the ruling of its Dispute Hearing Officer dismissing their complaint of irregularities and fraud in Liberia's 10 October polls.


The Board of Commission is the highest decision-making body of the NEC, after which a complainant's only legal resort is the Supreme Court of Liberia.


The ruling Unity Party (UP) and opposition Liberty Party (LP) had announced an appeal to the Board of Commissioners after Hearing Officer Muana Sando Ville on Monday ruled that their allegations “lacked weight to overturn the results” of the 10 October presidential and representative elections.


Ville, however, mandated the electoral body to “correct all irregularities” identified by LP and UP, before holding any future elections, including the run-off poll that was set for 7 November, but cancelled to probe the alleged claims.


The two parties claimed “irregularities and fraud” in the first round of the election, and later went to the Supreme Court that mandated the NEC to probe the allegation and rule in it.


Delivering the Board’s decision, Commissioner Davidetta Lansana observed that as captured in the ruling of the Hearing Officer, the burden of proof rested with the accusers, something they failed to do.


The board’s decision remained silent on the mandate of the hearing officer for the NEC to “correct all irregularities” identified by the LP and UP, before holding any future elections, including the run-off poll.


Immediately after the announcement of the Board’s decision, lawyer of the parties, former Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh, announced an appeal to the Supreme Court.


The complainant parties noted the silence of the Board of Commissioners on the issue of the “clean-up” referenced by the Hearing Officer ahead of any future polls.


They hoped that this would claim the attention of the Supreme Court.


The parties have been keen on the need to revisit the Final Registration Roll, its addenda and other documents ahead of any election.


On Thursday, the NEC rejected a call by the protesting parties to recuse itself from further deliberating in matters concerning the election disputes to avoid a player-referee scenario.







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