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Voting begins as Liberians choose Johnson-Sirleaf’s successor in delayed run-off election

A voter casting his ballot at the Calvary Chapel Mission School polling centre in Monrovia in Tuesday’s presidential run-off election in Liberia.
By Harrison Arubu
Voting has begun in polling centres across Liberia as the West African country chooses its next President in a delayed presidential run-off election.

The run-off is between former international football star, Sen. George Weah, and incumbent Vice President, Mr Joseph Boakai.

Weah won the first round of elections on Oct. 10 with 38 per cent of the total votes cast, followed by Boakai who came second with 29 per cent.

But both men fell short of the 50 per cent plus one absolute majority vote required for a winner to emerge in the first round, hence the run-off.

The winner will succeed outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is leaving in January after completing her constitutional 12-year tenure of two terms of six years each.

A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent in the Liberian capital city of Monrovia reports that polling began at exactly 8:00 GMT at some of the centres visited.

However, voter turnout was low as at the time of NAN’s visit to the centres, compared to what was obtainable during the Oct. 10 general elections.

The NAN correspondent observed the presence of security personnel and at least three queue controllers at each of the centres.

Oppong Wennah, a polling staff, told NAN that the process had been smooth and fast, but said the turnout was low.

A voter, Dillion Boakai, said he spent less than 20 minutes on queue to cast his vote, unlike what it was on Oct. 10 when he managed to vote after six hours.

Others who spoke to NAN said they had no problem with the run-off holding on Boxing Day, noting that it was a necessary price to pay for a peaceful transition of power.

NAN reports that this is the first transition election since 1973 in a country that is recovering from over a decade of devastating civil war.

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