Liberia's Supreme Court has ruled that the president can appoint local mayors because the government cannot afford to hold municipal elections.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been in power for two years
A spokesman for the court said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should choose the mayors in consultation with local politicians.
The opposition United People's Party said the ruling was unacceptable.
Municipal elections they have not been held since 1985 because of financial constraints and successive civil wars.
"The decision of the supreme court is based on what the government told us - on its complaints that there is no money in the coffers to hold elections," a spokesman for the court said.
He said the judgement only held while the government could not afford to conduct the polls, reports the AFP news agency.
President Johnson-Sirleaf has been in power for two years, since winning elections intended to end 14 years of civil war.