Liberians Await Vote Tally in Presidential Election
Liberians cast their ballots Tuesday in a runoff election to select their next president. Now they await the final vote tally, which could take days.
Former soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai are vying to replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping down after two terms, the maximum allowed under Liberia’s constitution.
Poll workers said turnout appeared to be lower than the October 10 election in which Boakai and Weah were the top vote-getters, qualifying them for the runoff election.
Observers said polling stations were better organized than during the October vote, and there were few reports of problems. The National Elections Commission said a woman who tried to vote twice was caught and arrested.
Both Weah and Boakai have built their campaigns around job creation, education and building infrastructure.
Critics of Boakai, 73, have accused him of doing little as Johnson Sirleaf’s vice president. Critics of Weah, 51, say he has almost no real political or governing experience.
Weah’s running mate is senator Jewel Howard-Taylor. She is the ex-wife of former rebel leader and president Charles Taylor, who sparked Liberia’s civil war in 1989 and is serving a 50-year prison sentence in Britain for his role in atrocities in Sierra Leone.
Taylor still has supporters in Liberia, and his ex-wife is credited with helping Weah win key counties in the first round of voting.
Pollsters said ahead of Tuesday’s election the race was too close to call.
If all goes smoothly, Liberia will see its first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years.
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