Counting of Results Underway in Liberia’s Presidential Poll Run Off
Counting has begun in Liberia’s Presidential Poll run-off election after neither of the main candidates won October’s first round outright.
Just 7,000 votes separated the current president, retired Football Star George Weah, and former Vice-President Joseph Boakai.
While Mr. Weah won the first round he failed to get more than 50% of the vote, triggering a run-off.
This is not the first time the two men have faced each other. In 2017, Mr. Weah beat Mr. Boakai, gaining 61% of the vote in the second round.
Counting will conclude today, according to the national elections commission.
Nine election commission staff arrested over alleged ballot-tampering after October’s vote.
This is the fourth presidential election since Liberia’s second civil war which ended more than 20 years ago after more than 50,000 people died.
Turnout appeared lighter on Tuesday in Monrovia, the capital, compared with the first round of voting, a Reuters reporter said. Several polls closed on time without people still queuing to cast ballots, which was a common sight in October.
“I voted because I want to see my children come out well,” said Oretha Jallah, a mother of two selling oranges on the side of a road.
Vote counting began just after 1800 GMT at polling stations across the capital. The electoral commission will begin releasing provisional results on Wednesday.
Many voters said they were underwhelmed by Weah’s first term, which has been dogged by graft scandals and persistent poverty in Africa’s oldest independent republic.
“I am hoping for things to improve,” said Hannan Kollie, who studies sociology at the University of Liberia. “Even if George Weah is re-elected, he should do more to improve health, education and environment,” she said.
Weah has asked voters for more time to make good on his first-term promises to root out corruption and improve livelihoods. The West African nation is still suffering the fallout from two civil wars between 1989 and 2003, and the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic that killed thousands.