The Liberian ruling Unity Party, UP, has claimed early lead over the opposition Congress for Democratic Change, CDC, in Tuesday’s presidential run-off in the small West African country.
A spokesperson for the UP, Mohammed Ali, made the victory claim in a Facebook post, even though tallying and counting of votes are still underway and the National Electoral Commission is yet to announce any result.
According to the figures posted by Mr. Ali, which he said represented 30 per cent of votes from six of the country’s 15 counties, Vice President Joseph Boakai is ahead in four of the six counties whose provisional results he said had trickled in to his party.
He claimed the candidate of the UP garnered 53.89 per cent of the votes in Bomi county against 46.11 per cent he said the CDC amassed.
Other results posted by the UP official are for Gbarpolu County [Boakai (UP) – 57.17%, Weah (CDC) – 42.83%]; Grand Cape Mount County [Boakai (UP) – 47.34%, Weah (CDC) – 52.66%]; Lofa County [Boakai (UP) – 83.53%, Weah (CDC) – 16.47%]; Montserrado County [Boakai (UP) – 37.69%, Weah (CDC) – 62.31%]; and Nimba County [Boakai (UP) – 57.33%, Weah (CDC) – 42.67%].
Mr. Ali announced the ‘provisional result’ despite a statement from the electoral commission warning parties and the media against announcing result not declared by it.
Before posting the result, Mr. Ali had circulated a message thanking Liberians for the “mammoth” and “unwavering” support his party enjoyed in the election.
“Without your support, we would not have made it this far and together we are all winners,” he said.
On his part, the candidate of the CDC, George Weah has remained largely measured in his post-election comment.
“It is with deep emotion that I want to thank you, the Liberian people, for honouring me with your vote today,” the ex-footballer said in a statement posted on his Facebook Page. “It is a great hope.
“I am deeply grateful to my family, my friends, and my loyal supporters who contributed to our campaign during this extremely long election season. We are on the verge of making history for our people.”
Mr. Ali, the UP spokesperson, was the first high profile official to allege electoral fraud shortly after the vote went underway on Tuesday.
Just as voters were queuing up across the country, he widely circulated a statement, saying, “Let it claim the attention of the international community that voters have been given pre-marked ballots. On the ballots, candidate 2 is already marked and this is done by the NEC poll workers.
“We call on all persons encountering this situation to immediately file a complain and also demand a new ballot paper. If possible, document this by photographing the pre-marked ballot. This situation is being reported from the MVTC and other centres around the country.”
The electoral commission promptly issued a counter statement describing the allegation as false and malicious.
“The information from Mo Ali is false and malicious,” election umpire said. “The ballot paper issuer while trying to stamp the ballot mistakenly touched the ink on the paper.
“The ballot paper was displayed to all present and marked spoiled and placed in the specified envelope.
“Please verify this information from the NEC at MVTC (30223) polling place number 3.”