Preliminary results from the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia shows that opposition candidate and former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has gained a lead in the country’s presidential contest.
Boakai currently has 1,438 more votes than the current president, George Weah.
The outcomes are based on 16 polling locations across two counties—Bomi and Montserrado—that make up around 0.27% of all 5,890 polling stations nationwide. Weah received 1,681 votes, while Boakai received 3,119.
Within the legally required 15 days for reporting the official election results, the NEC will continue to announce additional provisional results.
Provisional results for the Tuesday presidential, senatorial, and parliamentary elections in the west African country started trickling in from the country’s electoral agency on Wednesday.
The victor of the presidential election needs to receive more than 50% of the total votes cast to avoid a runoff.
Liberians participated in a general election Tuesday in which President George Weah is running for re-election after serving for six years.
The national elections in the West African nation were open to about 2.4 million eligible voters.
The NEC also said that voting went well nationwide, but that it could need to be prolonged in some areas of Sinoe and Rivercess counties where some voters did not receive their votes in a timely manner.
According to NEC head Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, some votes were shipped in canoes that capsized.
The polls were open from 08:00 until 18:00 GMT. A large number of voters turned up quite early in anticipation of the polls opening, according to a team of observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The vote was peaceful and orderly at the different polling places visited, according to ECOWAS, and no significant issues were reported.
The short-term ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the Liberian presidential, senatorial, and parliamentary elections is being led by Prof. Attahiru Jega, a former head of the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The ECOWAS permanent representative to Liberia, Ambassador Josephine Nkrumah, welcomed Prof. Jega when he arrived in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.
In order to ensure a smooth election process, the Head of the ECOWAS mission and his team met with a variety of stakeholders during their visit, including the National Elections Commission (NEC), the government, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies, political parties, and candidates.
Analysts predict that Weah, a 57-year-old former football player who won the first round of voting in 2017 in Liberia’s first democratic change of government in 70 years, will retain his position as president.
Weah stated that he needs more time to carry out his pledge to repair the country’s damaged institutions, infrastructure, and economy. If re-elected, he promised to pave more roads.
“I have asked the Liberian people for a second-term mandate and that’s why we have come here,” the president said after casting his ballot at the Kendeja Elementary School polling station in southern Monrovia.
“I have cast my vote and I am happy to exercise my constitutional right,” he said, wearing a crisp white djellaba robe and matching white baseball cap.
The opposition and certain donor nations have criticised Weah for not doing enough to combat corruption during his first time in office. After the United States sanctioned him and two other senior officials for corruption last year, he sacked his chief of staff.
Among the 19 contenders, Weah’s principal opponent is Unity Party vice president Joseph Boakai, 78, whom he defeated in a 2017 runoff.
Boakai has focused his campaign on the necessity of saving Liberia from Weah’s administration’s alleged mismanagement.
In addition, voters will choose half of the 30 senators and the 73 members of the lower house.