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Liberia court halts poll run-off

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC Africa, Monrovia

A woman leaves a polling station after casting her vote in the village of Fefeh Town on November 8, 2011
The first round of voting was marred by allegations of rigging

Liberia's Supreme Court has indefinitely halted the presidential run-off election, which was due to take place tomorrow.

The poll cannot be held until the election commission “urgently and expeditiously” investigates allegations of “irregularities and fraud” made by the opposition Liberty Party, the court said.

Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor handed down the judgement to a packed courtroom in the capital, Monrovia.

He said the election commission had “wrongly and illegally” proceeded to organise a run-off between former football star George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai without dealing with the complaint of the Liberty Party.

Its candidate, Charles Brumskine, was eliminated from the run-off after he came third in last month's election.

The run-off was called after Mr Weah, who secured the highest number of votes, failed to secure an outright majority.

Liberty Party officials - including its chairman Benjamin Sanvee and its vice-presidential candidate Harrison Karnwea - left the courtroom elated.

A lawyer for the commission, Musa Dean, said “the highest court of the land has spoken and we have to abide by the ruling".