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Ex- Soccer Star continues to lead in Liberia’s presidential election

Senator George M. Weah and Senator Jewel Howard Taylor of CDC

MONROVIA, Liberia — Reports from the Liberia’s National Election Commission (NEC) says Liberia’s ex-international soccer, star George Manneh Weah, continues to lead in the presidential election with nearly three-quarters of the ballots counted.

Authorities at the commission on Saturday said Weah, the candidate for the grassroots Congress for Democratic Change party, had just over 39 percent of the preliminary vote and Vice President Joseph Boakai had just under 30 percent.

Ex- Liberian global soccer star George Manneh Weah

International political and election analysts say this makes it more likely that there could be a second round, perhaps between Weah and Boakai if nothing significant changes to establish a win for either candidates, particularly Weah who has a double digit lead in the poll.

Liberty Party leader and veteran Liberian corporate lawyer and politician, Charles Brumskine, remains in third with almost 10 percent of the preliminary votes counted so far, followed by former Coca-Cola top corporate executive Alexander B. Cummings, Jr.

Photo – left to right: Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Weah

After 12 years in power (two terms), Liberians voted Tuesday at more than 5,300 polling stations to pick a successor to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president.

The October 10 election had more than 100 legislative candidates and 20 presidential candidates in all.  However, while the country’s legislature remains a vital and one of the most problematic branches in restoring social and economic progress, stability and peace as well as economic development, not much is heard or said about the legislative election and the candidates.

All eyes, focus and expectations are on the presidential election, and observers expect a runoff election will be required.  According to Liberia’s electoral rules, a candidate needs just over 50 percent to avoid a runoff.  So far, no candidate seems poised to get the magic number of 50 percent.

The election’s final results must be announced by Oct. 25, according to the NEC.

END

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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