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Liberian elections marred by controversy, and by "fraud" in equatorial Guinea

1/18/2012, 1:35 p.m.
Nov. 15 (GIN) - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won a second term as president of Liberia...
Liberian elections marred by controversy, and by "fraud" in equatorial Guinea

Nov. 15 (GIN) - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won a second term as president of Liberia but the victory was bittersweet. Her rival, Winston Tubman, withdrew from the balloting, charging fraud, and nearly two thirds of registered voters chose to stay home on election day.

Mrs. Sirleaf took 91 percent of the vote while Tubman, despite his boycott, received 9 percent. Despite the claims of fraud, Mr. Tubman said he would still consider any offer from Mrs. Sirleaf to serve in the new government.

The election was upheld by international observers, including those from the Economic Community of West African States who called it credible and without major irregularities.

The electoral process took another blow in the West African nation of Equatorial Guinea. There, a bid by the president to increase his powers was marked by threats against election monitors, armed guards inside polling places and the harassment of opposition supporters, according to EG Justice and Human Rights Watch.

The government has claimed victory with more than 99 percent voting in favor of the changes to the constitution. A final vote tally is expected on Nov. 16.

Tutu Alicante, executive director of EG Justice, a nongovernmental group that promotes good governance in Equatorial Guinea, said:"The government has once again failed to safeguard people's right to public participation... The repressive way this constitutional referendum was carried out makes this supposed reform agenda look like a farce."