Former international soccer star George Weah maintained an early lead in Liberia’s election on Friday as the West African nation released a second round of provisional results of the vote to succeed Africa’s first female president.
With 20 candidates, observers expect a runoff election. National Election Commission Chairperson Jerome Korkoya has warned candidates’ supporters against declaring victory until final results are announced, which must be done by October 25. A candidate must get just over 50% to avoid a runoff.
Based on about 33% of the votes cast at more than 5 300 polling stations, Weah had 39.6% of the ballots counted. He held a slight lead over Vice President Joseph Boakai, who received 31.1%, according to election commission data. Charles Brumskine was third with 9.3%.
Liberia seeks a successor to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who led the country as it recovered from civil war and the Ebola outbreak that killed nearly 5 000 Liberians.
The 51-year-old Weah is a former striker for AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. His youthful Congress for Democratic Change party is in a coalition with two others, including the National Patriotic Party of now-jailed former President Charles Taylor. Weah’s running mate is Jewel Howard-Taylor, Taylor’s ex-wife.
Boakai, who has been vice president for nearly 12 years, is running for the ruling Unity Party.
One of Liberia’s largest political parties has called for a halt to vote-counting, alleging voting irregularities and fraud. The Liberty Party claims that polls opened late and that ballot-tampering occurred in at least one location in the capital, Monrovia.
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Source: News 24