Soc­cer star Weah leads elec­tion count

Daily News - - WORLD -

MONROVIA: Former soc­cer star Ge­orge Weah leads in par­tial pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­sults in 11 of Liberia’s 15 coun­ties, the elec­toral com­mis­sion said on Thurs­day, af­ter a vote meant to bring about the coun­try’s first demo­cratic trans­fer of power in decades.

Early re­sults from Tues­day’s poll read to re­porters by the com­mis­sion’s chair­per­son left Weah’s camp con­fi­dent he would win the out­right ma­jor­ity he needs to avoid a run-off, even though most coun­ties had re­ported tal­lies from less than a third of polling sta­tions.

The other favourite in the 20-can­di­date field, Vice-Pres­i­dent Joseph Boakai, led in just one county, al­though he was run­ning in sec­ond in most oth­ers.

“I can say for sure that Am­bas­sador Ge­orge Man­neh Weah is go­ing to be the next pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Li- be­ria,” Weah’s ad­viser Mul­bah Morlu told Reuters.

The fi­nal re­sults must be an­nounced by Oc­to­ber 25 and a run-off will be held next month if no one has won a ma­jor­ity.

Be­fore the com­mis­sion’s an­nounce­ment, par­ties back­ing three other can­di­dates al­leged fraud and vowed to con­test the re­sults. But in­ter­na­tional ob­servers said they had seen no ma­jor prob­lems with the vote.

Ob­servers from the U.S.based Carter Cen­tre and Na­tional Demo­cratic In­sti­tute (NDI) also said they had not iden­ti­fied any ma­jor is­sues with the vot­ing or sub­se­quent count­ing.

How­ever, none of the par­ties pro­vided ev­i­dence of cheat­ing. A Unity Party leader de­clined to re­spond to the ac­cu­sa­tions.

Liberia was founded by freed U.S. slaves in 1847 but its last demo­cratic power trans­fer oc­curred in 1944. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Ge­orge Weah, pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of Congress for Demo­cratic Change (CDC) in Liberia, shows his voter’s card at a polling sta­tion.

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