By Kemo Cham
Former Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai took an early lead in the first set of results announced in the country’s hotly contested Presidential election.
Liberians went to the polls on Tuesday, October 10 in the fourth general elections since the country emerged from civil war in 2003. The 2.4 million registered voters casted their votes for 20 presidential aspirants, and 88 lawmakers vying for seats in the House of Representatives and Senate.
According to figures announced by National Election Commission (NEC) Chairperson Davidetta Lansanah, Mr Boakai polled 3119 votes, ahead of Weah with 1681 votes.
Data released by the NEC said the results released were from 16 of the 5,890 polling centers, representing 0.27 percent of results received.
The two counties – Bomi and Monsterrado – are considered as stranglehold of Weah’s CDC.
Mr Boakai served as Vice President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018 under Africa’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He lost to football legend George Weah in the 2017 elections.
Weah, who is running under his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party, is seeking re-election for his second and final six-year term. Boakai, considered as his main challenger, is contesting under the former ruling Unity Party. This is his second time he is challenging the incumbent.
The winner must secure more than 50 percent of the vote cast. to avoid a run-off.
Prior to voting, many political analysts had predicted a second round between Weah and Boakai.
Very high voter turnout was reported, with election observers, both local and international, describing the process as peaceful.
Counting is taking place at specific collation centres across the country. Results are sent to the NEC headquarters for announcement.
According to the NEC, voting was still ongoing in some parts of the country where flooding reportedly affected the transportation of electoral materials.
The electoral commission said final results should be within two weeks.