Polls closed yesterday as Liberians voted in a runoff to elect a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Counting of the votes across the country continued immediately after close of polls. The elections body says it will announce a winner latest by Friday, December 29.
Jerome Korkoya, Elections chief in his first press conference after close of polls said the process was an improvement on the October 10 first round as processes they had put in place worked close to perfectly.
“Counting of the ballot papers has now commenced and is currently being carried out nationwide. This counting will be undertaken under the full view of political party agents and international and national election observers.
“By tomorrow morning, 27 December 2017 at 11:00 hours the tallying of results will commence and the National Elections Commission will continue to release provisional results as they arrive.
“Once again the National Elections Commission would like to remind all stakeholders including the media that it alone is responsible for the announcement of election results. And only results released by the National Elections Commission should be reported as official ones,” he added.
Many predicted that December 26, 2017 was not a suitable date for election, and that incidents leading to the day would have impacted the voting process.
At some polling places, there were no queues at all and the process appeared to be a walk-in-process. There was also less difficulty in finding names on the voters roll although there were few incidents were voters did not find their names.
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, at the head of the NDI observers’ delegation admitted that people were a “bit apprehensive about the turnout” but said it was significantly a successful process.
“We can say on the average that it cannot be less than 55 percent – it might be between 55 and 60 (percent) and I cannot say it will go lower than that,” he said at St. Peter’s Lutheran School in Monrovia during a quick press conference after polling closed on Tuesday.
“We think that the figures may be higher than that because the numbers of places we visited… the turnout is not as bad as people insinuated.”
He admitted that the Christmas festivity also impacted the turnout as compared to the first round of voting when voters’ “enthusiasm was high.”
“The management of the people was not too good (during the first round), so many people spent so much to locate where to vote, but this time around we must commend the NEC, they trained the people, they organized the procedures with the help of the technical staff from ECOWAS, so the voting is smooth, ” he said.
“On the overall, we believe that the elections will be successful and Liberia and indeed Africa will be proud that this country is consolidating democracy.”