Electoral Chief: Liberia’s presidential poll successful

LIBERIA, WEST AFRICA –– No serious disturbance has been narrated so far as polls opened and closed Tuesday for Liberians to elect a new president, the country’s electoral institution chief said.

Voters in the West African nation waited and strolled in long queues across the country to vote for a new president and 73 members of the country’s legislature in the election.

The head of the National Elections Commission, Jerome Korkoya, said the general elections in Liberia have been successful, except for what he described as “pockets of incidents” that emerged from misperception on the part of voters.

He told Globe Afrique in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, that the electoral body observed a very high turnout of voters as per its preliminary report.

“Reports from the fields suggest that everything is generally calm and going on according to plans,” Korkoya said.

According to him, “there’s nothing absolutely wrong with the voter register, and there are a couple of reasons for these incidents.”

Before, there were grievances and allegations of voters not finding their names on several registers in some polling centers.

According to several eyewitnesses’ accounts, voting materials reportedly arrived late in other places, and some voters were directed to other voting points different from where they had registered for the elections, leaving many upset and discouraged.

But the electoral chief insists that “One of the issues was caused by voters joining the queue without consulting the queue controller, and going straight to the polling place without checking whether they are in the right place in a polling precinct.”

he added, “The second issue was that in cases where the voter registered twice, these individuals were registered in the last place of registration in line with our policy.”

“You will not be at the original place if you fall in such category,” he said.

On Tuesday, voting started at 8 a.m. local Liberian time. Meanwhile, most voters had arrived at their polling centers three hours prior.

Overall, 26 political parties contested the presidential and legislative election. Their political fates are expected to be decided by 2.18 million registered Liberian voters.

20 presidential candidates participated in the election to replace 78-year-old Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Nobel Laureate who completes her two-term presidency (with a term span of six years fixed by the constitution) in January 2018.

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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.
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