Vote counting is underway in Liberia where large number of voters turned out on Tuesday to vote for a new president and lawmakers.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) in its last press statement at the close of polls said there was a high turnout in the largely peaceful process. Election officers and party agents stayed overnight to count ballots.
NEC said on Tuesday that initial results could be ready by Wednesday afternoon but were delayed by hitches at a number of polling stations.
Vice President Joseph Boakai and footballer George Weah are seen as the frontrunners to succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The nation’s 2.18 million registered voters made their choice from a field of 20 presidential candidates. Longtime opposition figure Charles Brumskine and former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings are deemed to be close on the heels of Weah and Boakai.
If no candidate wins 50 per cent of the presidential vote, a run-off between the top two contenders will be held on 7 November, an outcome analysts say is a near certainty. Turnout for Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in seven decades was exceptionally high, the electoral panel has suggested.
The general election is the third to be held since the end of a 14-year civil war in the country and will choose a successor for Africa’s first democratically elected female leader, Sirleaf. It will also pick 73 lawmakers for a new term.
The electoral exercise although peaceful was fraught with some challenges key among them being the inability of some voters to locate their names on the electoral roll or easily identify where they have to vote.
The Chairman of NEC explained that the situation with the voter register did not amount to a problem with the electoral roll. But some have blamed the electoral commission of not properly educating the public about the voting process.