Johnson-Sirleaf calls for Liberians to vote

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pretoria -Amid tensions ahead of Tuesday's presidential run-off election, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf has called on her compatriots to turn out in large numbers and vote.

While criticising the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) leader Winston Tubman who told people to boycott the polls, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Sirleaf called on citizens to use their right and vote.

"When you start violating the Constitution, where do you stop? If this is how they run their party, think of how they would have run our country! The Constitution governs us; it protects us; it is the thread that holds us all together," the Liberian leader said.

Winston Tubman, head of the main opposition party CDC, on Friday announced that his party would not take part in the November 8th run-off election against Sirleaf.

CDC, which came second in the first round of election on 11 October, is demanding replacement of members of the current National Elections Commission and a recount from the ballots in the first round before they take part in any run-off.

James Fromayan, the former NEC Chairman, has resigned the post.

But in an address to the nation on Saturday, President Johnson- Sirleaf said, Tubman and his CDC party were trying to deny Liberians the right to exercise their franchise at the ballot box.

Meanwhile, the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) says it is closely monitoring developments in the country relating to the pending run-off election.

"The Secretary General stresses the importance of peaceful, credible, transparent elections and reaffirms the readiness of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to support the Liberian authorities, in accordance with its mandate," the UN statement said.

The African Union (AU) also urged all stakeholders to work together to ensure the upcoming presidential run-off proves a success.

Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping stressed the need for all concerned to place the national interest above all other considerations and to demonstrate the required sense of patriotism.