Whapoe runs to S/Court

Whapoe is on his way to Liberia’ s Supreme Court this Monday, 6 November 2023 to demand cancellation of the 14 November presidential run-off. The opposition Vision for Liberia Transformation Party presidential candidate is unhappy the National Elections Commission has rejected his request to cancel the run-off. The petition to cancel the run-off election…

By Lincoln G. Peters

Defeated presidential candidate Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe is on his way to Liberia’s Supreme Court this Monday, 6 November 2023 to demand cancellation of the 14 November presidential run-off.

The opposition Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT) presidential candidate is unhappy the National Elections Commission (NEC) has rejected his request to cancel the run-off.

The petition to cancel the run-off election started at the NEC’s magisterial level, and its full Board of Commissioners also endorsed the decision finally rejecting Wahpoe’s request.

Whapoe has raised contentions against the first round of the election conducted on 10 October 2023, citing alleged electoral breaches and fraud.

During the hearing at the NEC, VOLT requested a cancellation of the pending presidential run-off, accusing the electoral house of intentionally omitting VOLT’s name during the first round of the election.

VOLT alleged that its name was replaced by the NEC with the Grassroots Development Movement of Edward Appleton, the distant third-placed presidential candidate who obtained 40,271 of the total votes cast or 2.20 percent.

Dr. Whapoe was among 19 opposition presidential candidates who contested against President George Manneh Weah for the presidency on 10 October.

Whapoe obtained 9,149 votes or 0.50 percent of the total valid votes cast. Most of the candidates like Dr. Whapoe had zero percent, besides Appleton’s two percent and three other candidates who managed to have just about one percent each.

In the first round of the election, incumbent President Weah obtained 804,087 votes, constituting 43.83 percent, followed by Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai with 796,961 votes, constituting 43.44 percent. Weah and Boakai will meet in a run-off next week on Tuesday, their second in such a battle.

On Wednesday, 1 November 2023, the NEC magisterial office heard VOLT’s complaint against the electoral house.

During the hearing of VOLT’s complaint, the NEC argued that VOLT signed during the preliminary validation exercise of Know Your Candidate.

The Commission therefore argued that VOLT’s complaint is belated.

Additionally, the NEC argued that VOLT filed a complaint without a Board resolution, something the electoral house claimed is unethical and breaches corporate law.

Deciding the case after listening to both arguments and law citations, the hearing officers ruled against VOLT because the party did not have legal standing.

Meanwhile, the NEC’s Board of Commissioners ruled on Friday, 3 November 2023 upholding the decision of its hearing officers. NEC’s Board of Commissioners said what VOLT had complained of was a “harmless” error.

But in a telephone conversation with this paper over the weekend, Dr. Whapoe rejected the NEC’s decision, saying VOLT will file its lawsuit against the NEC today, 6 November before the Supreme Court.

Whapoe insisted that the run-off should be cancelled because the NEC intentionally omitted his party’s name and replaced it with the Grassroots Development Movement of Edward Appleton.

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