The Liberian opposition parties on Sunday said it would contest the run-off presidential vote even though it rejects preliminary results of the first round that put the incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the lead.
The election result was rejected on Saturday by the country’s opposition leader, claiming fraud.
According to announcement from the National Elections Commission, NEC, late Friday, Sirleaf had a lead with 45.4% of the vote with more than half of polling stations tallied.
It said: “We declare the results being reported as flawed and consequently declared null and void.”
“We declare that all our party agents assigned at NEC in all capacities to withdraw effective immediately,” It also added.
“We are going to fully take part in the second round, but we are not going to accept any more acts of fraud,” said Merlie Kemru, campaign manager of former warlord Prince Johnson, who finished third in the October 11 vote behind Sirleaf and former diplomat Winston Tubman.
Sirleaf’s party vowed earlier Sunday that she would contest a run-off, even if the opposition boycotted over complaints that the National Elections Commission had fixed the results in favor of the incumbent.
Sirleaf’s vote was followed by former diplomat Winston Tubman with 31 percent and former warlord Prince Johnson with 11.2 percent after 71 percent of the ballots were counted.
If the provisional results stand up, Sirleaf will lack the majority needed for an outright win and will face the second place finisher in the run-off, likely to be Tubman of Congress for Democratic Change party.
Sirleaf was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize just days before Tuesday’s vote, for her work in rebuilding the country and promoting women’s rights after the civil war in which some 250,000 people were killed.
While initially promising to serve only one term, the 72-year old grandmother has asked for more time to continue building the “broken country”.
Sirleaf has become a darling of the international community, charming creditors to write off billions of dollars in debt, and attracting investors in iron-ore and oil exploration in a bid to kickstart the nation’s shattered economy.