Liberia. The October presidential election, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s successor was to be elected, was expected to be a smooth story. Among the 20 candidates who were registered in July were former soccer pro George Weah, who came second after Johnson Sirleaf in the 2005 election, Vice President Joseph Boakai, senator and former warlord Prince Johnson, Freedom Party leader Charles Brumskine and business leader Alexander Cummings. The only female candidate was the former photo model MacDella Cooper, who leads a foundation to improve the situation for women and children. Election day went smoothly but not without some problems, including in the form of a lack of election material and errors in voting lengths.
When the votes were counted, it turned out that no candidate was close to getting the 50% of the votes required to be elected. Georg Weah (Congress for Democratic Change) had the strongest support with 38% of the vote. Then came Joseph Boakai (from the ruling Unity Party) with 29%, Charles Brumskine, 10%, and Prince Johnson, 8%. This made it clear that it would be a decisive round of elections between Weah and Boakai. Brumskine refused to acknowledge the result, claiming that there had been cheating and the Freedom Party and the Unity Party submitted formal protests to the country’s election commission. According to the appeal, ballot papers had been filled out in advance, people were prevented from voting and election observers were harassed and therefore the parties demanded that the result be annulled.
According to Countryaah.com, the fraud charges caused the Supreme Court to postpone the second round of elections, which should have actually been held on November 7, indefinitely. According to the court, the Election Commission must investigate the allegations of electoral fraud before the second round could be held. President Johnson Sirleaf was critical of the Supreme Court’s decision, which she considered to be a threat to democracy in the country. On November 20, the Election Commission announced that no evidence of electoral fraud had emerged.
The Unity Party and the Freedom Party finally appealed to the Supreme Court, which did not consider that the evidence was sufficient to invalidate the election. The second round of elections between Weah and Boakai was held on December 26 and the former took a clear victory with over 61% of the vote.