The drama of Liberia’s presidential election continues after the Supreme Court’s recent indefinite postponement of the presidential runoff election, just hours before the polls were scheduled to open.
In the latest development, candidate George Weah denied Monday that he is seeking the return to Liberia of former president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor.
Weah told VOA that reports about him facilitating Taylor’s return are “propaganda” and “fallacy.”
Alan White, the former chief of investigations for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone, recently told VOA that Weah, if elected, wanted to bring Taylor back to Liberia.
“It is incredulous,” White said that anyone would attempt “to bring back a convicted war criminal that would be a threat not only to Liberia, but also to the entire region.”
Weah’s running mate is Taylor’s ex-wife, Jewel Howard Taylor. White said she talked openly on a campaign stop about bringing back her husband’s policies.
Former President Taylor is serving a 50-year prison sentence in Britain, after having been found guilty by the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone of war crimes and crimes against humanity for aiding rebels during Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor
The two leading presidential candidates, former football star Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai, were set to participate in a runoff last week, but third-place finisher Charles Brumskine filed a legal challenge, alleging widespread fraud.
Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor said the electoral commission had acted “wrongly and illegally” in proceeding with the runoff, as there was still a complaint pending about the first round vote in October. A date for the second round of voting has not yet been set.
The candidates are competing to replace Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping aside after two terms. Sirleaf’s current term is due to end in January. A successful vote would be Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in over 70 years.