Liberians await election results as George Weah and Joseph Boakai vie for presidency

by MMC
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Around 2.4 million people registered to vote

Votes are being counted in Liberia after Tuesday’s election, with President George Weah seeking a second term.

Local and regional election observers said the vote took place peacefully, despite clashes between rival political camps in the final days of the campaign.

Voter turnout was reportedly high during a campaign dominated by the economic crisis and allegations of corruption.

The electoral commission said the first results would be announced later on Wednesday.

Mr. Weah is the favorite, his main challenger being former vice-president Joseph Boakai.

But a second round will take place if no candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes cast.

Parliamentary elections were held alongside the presidential election, with around 2.4 million people registered to vote.

The delivery of election materials to some remote areas of southeastern Liberia has been delayed by flooding and muddy roads.

Some canoes carrying staff and election materials capsized, leading to the loss of election materials, but the National Electoral Commission (NEC) said voting was expanded in those areas.

This is the first time that a generation of young voters, born in peacetime Liberia, has voted in national elections.

A brutal civil war, which killed around 250,000 people, ended twenty years ago.

“I vote for the good of my country. I expect peace and development,” Agostina Momo, 18, who was voting for the first time, told the AFP news agency in the capital Monrovia.

The electoral commission is expected to start publishing initial results, but the final announcement will be made within 15 days.

Mr Weah, who was voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, entered politics after retiring from football.

He won his first term in 2017 after receiving 61% of the vote in the second round, defeating Mr Boakai.

Analysts say this could be the 78-year-old’s last attempt at the presidency.

Mr Boakai ran his campaign under the slogan “Rescue”, arguing that the West African state had deteriorated during the first six years of Mr Weah’s term.

Mr Weah rejected her claims, saying he had made significant progress during his first term, including introducing free tuition for university students.

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