Liberia Presidential Election 2017 boxing Day runoff: Voting underway

Liberians have gone to the polls to select a new president in a run-off vote that analysts say is too close to predict the outcome. Campaigns over, ballot boxes and other electoral materials deployed across Liberia, the National Elections Commission (NEC) says all is set for today’s crucial run off vote. On Christmas day, the NEC spokesperson confirmed that the body was done with over 95% nationwide deployment of materials.

Former soccer star George Weah faces Vice-President Joseph Boakai in the poll that was held up for several weeks by a court challenge filed by Charles Brumskine, the third place candidate in the first round. Polling stations opened at 8:00 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Tuesday and are expected to close at 6:00 p.m. (1800 GMT), with 2.1 million people eligible to take part.

The Supreme Court had ordered the electoral commission to resolve the issues raised in the first round of presidential election before a scheduled run-off vote can be held. Weah won the first round of voting with 38.4 percent to Boakai’s 28.8 percent. Third-place finisher Charles Brumskine won nearly 10 percent of the votes.

The run-off came after neither of the candidates managed to secure the over 50 percent needed to win outright. Analysts say both candidates enjoy equal support among eligible voters in the West African nation.

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.

Pollsters say Tuesday’s election is too close to call, and official results aren’t expected for a few days. If all goes smoothly, Liberia will see its first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years.



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