Liberia polls chief quits, as tension mounts ahead of runoff
As tension mounts ahead of the November 8 presidential run off election, the Chaiman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) James Fromoyan has resigned.
WADR's Monrovia Correspondent William Selmah says Fromayan's resignation is apparently linked to an erroneous letter sent late Thursday in which the NEC mistakenly flipped results of the first round of voting in favor.
Instead of the CDC being the runner-up and Unity Party winner, the CDC was declared winner of the polls.
Incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is due to take on former Liberian Justice Minister and one time UN diplomat Winston Tubman of the main opposition CDC party, which came second in the first round on October 11 out of a slate of 16 presidential candidates.
Details surrounding the NEC Chairman's resignation are still filtering in.
The NEC Chairman called a news conference and apologized for the error, dismissed the Commission's Information Director and suspended another staff in the Information section.
Meanwhile, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has warned that there is too much tension in the country, ahead of the runoff elections.
In a statement, signed by the union's President Peter Quqqu and released Sunday evening the PUL called on the National Elections Commission "to resume inter-party dialogue to ease the tension.''
Below is the full statement from Liberia's Press Union:
"As the elections management body, PUL says it blames NEC for the uncontrolled inflammatory and provocative language coming out of political actors in violation of the accepted rules.
PUL says NEC will have to take responsibility and act decisively without favor to remedy this situation before the country relapse into chaos.
The Unions says while it does not wish to get involve with the internal governance of the Commission, it believes the Commission overplayed the issue of the notice sent to the CDC by dismissing the Spokesman of the Commission and suspending for six months his deputy.
The Union calls on Chairman Fromayan and his Board of Commissioners to reconsider their decision to dismiss Bobby Livingstone and suspend Nathan Mulbah to spare the Commission of any further questions at this crucial time.
The Union submits that the circumstances surrounding the letter causes embarrassment and some image problem for the Commission, but agrees that the communication was an ‘error’ as it does not in any way invalidate the October 25th declaration of the results that the Unity Party and the CDC will go into a runoff on November 8.
The notice of runoff sent to the CDC Standard Bearer, Winston Tubman ‘inadvertently’ suggests that the CDC received the highest votes among the 16 candidates in the first round.
The Union says the CDC itself knows that this was an error so Chairman Fromayan and his colleagues should take leadership on this matter and stop the blame game.
Meanwhile the Press Union says as part civic education efforts for the runoff, it is collaborating with the West African Network for Peace Building, WANEP to host a one day symposium on the electoral processes on November 1 at the University of Liberia.
Election technicians are expected to provide additional insight on key electoral issues including Counting and Tallying, Deployment and Retrieval of Election Materials and Redress Mechanism and the Elections Law.
The symposium is expected to bring together civil society actors, elections observers, political parties, the media and other stakeholders. The symposium is being sponsored by USAID," the Liberian Press Union statement concluded.