Liberia Elections: George Weah battles to replace Sirleaf

By PrimeNewsGhana
Vice President Joseph Boakai and former footballer George Weah
Vice President Joseph Boakai and former footballer George Weah

Liberia’s election results have faced some setbacks at some polling stations and as a result declaration of Provisional results being scheduled for October 12, with incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai and former footballer George Weah are seen as the front-runners take over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The National Election Commission said local vote counting had ended after a largely smooth election. It apologized for delays in some areas, adding it will announce the first official results of the presidential and legislative elections on Thursday, October 12

According to reports, the former Chelsea player George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai, were leading in various parts of the country.

In tandem with the Liberia constitution, to be declared the President-Elect, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the votes.

If no candidate wins 50 percent of the votes, a run-off between the top two contenders will be held on November 7, which is a carefully predicted outcome by some analysts.

International observers said Tuesday's vote went smoothly despite late starts in some counties. More than 2.1 million voters had registered to vote throughout Liberia.

The head of the Ecowas Elections Observers Mission to Liberia, former President of Ghana John Mahama said the October 10 polls is being marked by several lapses on the part of election workers.

John Mahama, who is touring some polling stations in Margibi and Monsterrado Counties told reporters in Kolkata, Margibi County, the voting process is being faced with challenges, including the late start of polls, the late arrival of polling materials in remote areas of the country and several complaints from voters over the absence of their names from the voter’s roster.

Turnout for Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in seven decades was exceptionally high, the electoral panel has suggested.
It admitted that staff at polling stations had in some cases caused long waits for voters and widespread confusion, and many closed as late as 3 am, triggering the delay.

Controversy erupted after some voters were directed to the wrong polling place or were made to stand in the hot sun followed by heavy rain for hours, leading the NEC to apologise for the conduct of staff who misdirected voters.

“We have already admitted that our queue controllers at various polling places were not at their best,” NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya told journalists. “They were supposed to direct voters to the proper line they were assigned. From all indications in many places they didn’t do that and we take responsibility for that,” he admitted.

The US State Department hailed the vote as “an important step toward achieving Liberia’s first peaceful transfer of power from one democratically-elected head of state to another in decades”. Back-to-back civil wars, the 2014-16 Ebola crisis and slumped commodity prices have left Liberia among the world’s poorest nations, while corruption remains entrenched.

Consecutive civil wars, the 2014-16 Ebola crisis and slumped commodity prices have left Liberia among the world’s poorest nations, while corruption remains entrenched.