The delayed presidential run-off election in Liberia will now be conducted on December 26, after being held up for several weeks by a court challenge from the candidate who came third in round one.
The National Elections Commission, NEC, made the announcement at a press briefing on Tuesday, saying official campaigning must end by December 24.
The NEC chairman, Jerome Korkoya said, “We call on the two political parties in the run-off election … to go about their campaign in a peaceful manner”.
A run-off was originally scheduled for last month between George Weah, an international football star-turned-politician, and Vice President Joseph Boakai. The two presidential candidates ranked first and second respectively in the first round on October 10.
On November 6, a day before the scheduled poll, Liberia’s Supreme Court said the election would not proceed until a legal challenge, alleging voter fraud and irregularities by the third-placed Liberty Party, was resolved.
The party was calling for a re-run of the first round, but its complaint was dismissed last week by the country’s top court.
The Supreme Court had last week dismissed a complaint from third-place finisher Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party, which had said fraud had undermined the first round in October.
The winner of the re-run poll replaces Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president in what will be, if it goes smoothly, Liberia’s first peaceful handover of power in 70 years.
Liberians are eager for change after Nobel Peace Prize winning Sirleaf’s 12-year rule, which sealed a lasting peace in a country that for decades had only known war, but which has failed to tackle corruption or much improve the lot of the poorest.