Liberia commences vote counting in presidential runoff

Vote counting commences in Liberia
Vote counting commences in Liberia

Collation of ballots is underway in Liberia following a presidential runoff in the West African country on Tuesday.

The National Elections Commission (NEC), which oversees the conduct of elections in the country, on Wednesday began the official announcement of preliminary results from a consolidated tally obtained from polling units nationwide. The process is led by Davidetta Lansanah, head of the elections commission.

Counting began at 6 p.m. local time Tuesday, following the closing of polls in all 15 counties of the country. However, Lansanah told the media that the counting of votes began at 2:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday at the Grand Kru County in the southeastern part of the country but did not elaborate on the reasons for the delay.

“We have 15 days, by law, to announce the final result. But we are working round the clock to see how we can reduce the number of days for the collation of results,” Lansanah said during a daily press briefing on Wednesday evening.

Local and international election observers have described the election process as “generally peaceful and smooth.”

Compared to the Oct. 10 general elections that witnessed a huge turnout of voters, a low turnout was recorded in the presidential runoff on Tuesday, according to local media. More than 2.4 million Liberians were registered to vote during the election process.

The hotly contested second round of voting was between incumbent President George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change and former Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party.

The first round of voting, held on Oct. 10, did not yield a clear winner among 20 presidential candidates, leading to this runoff between Weah and Boakai, the top two contenders.

Both Weah and Boakai have expressed confidence in winning the election.

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