Thursday, 14 December 2017

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Partial results from Liberia's presidential election show former football star George Weah has taken an early lead.

Figures from the National Elections Commission (NEC) put Mr Weah ahead in 11 out of 15 counties, although most votes have yet to be counted.

His main rival, incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai, leads in one county and is second in most others.

A candidate needs more than 50% of the votes for outright victory.

If no-one achieves that, a second round will be held in November.

The election is to choose a successor to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Africa's first elected female president and a Nobel Peace laureate.

As the results came in, the manager of Arsenal Football Club, Arsene Wenger, was apparently duped by false reports that Mr Weah had won.

Arsene WengerImage copyrightGETTY Arsene Wenger coached George Weah in the 1990s when he was in charge of French club Monaco

"I would like to congratulate one of my former players, who became president of Liberia," Mr Wenger told reporters.

"It's not often you have a former player who becomes president of a country. So well done, Georgie."

NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya hit out at false reports and said his officials were doing their best to get accurate official results out as quickly as possible.

"This commission has not declared any winner," he stressed.

International election observers said they had not identified any major problems with Tuesday's voting.

However, parties supporting three of the 20 candidates have alleged irregularities and said they would contest the result, Reuters reported.

Joseph Boakai at a polling station in Monrovia on October 10, 2017Image copyrightAFP
Vice-President Joseph Boakai says the Liberian people want to see more development

Ms Sirleaf, 78, who is stepping down at the end of two terms, hailed the election as a success.

"We believe that all Liberians are ready for this process. I thank them for participating in this process," she said.


Meet the frontrunners

George Weah, 51:

  • Former Fifa World Footballer of the Year
  • Arsene Wenger, now at Arsenal, was Weah's coach at Monaco in 1990s
  • Has the political backing of jailed warlord and former President Charles Taylor
  • Taylor's ex-wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, is his running mate.

Joseph Boakai, 73:

  • Nicknamed "Sleepy Joe"
  • Denies it is because he is often caught napping at public events, says it is because he is a dreamer
  • Vice-President under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since 2005
  • Has distanced himself from her record, saying "a lot more needs to be achieved".

Liberia, which was founded by freed US slaves in the 19th Century, has not had a smooth transfer of power in 73 years.

Ms Sirleaf took office in 2006, after her predecessor, Charles Taylor, was forced out of office by rebels in 2003, ending a long civil war.

Taylor is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence in the UK for war crimes related to the conflict in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Mr Weah, 51, has chosen Taylor's ex-wife Jewel Howard Taylor as his running mate.

 
Published in Business and Economy

Liberia on Thursday awaited the delayed announcement of the outcome of presidential elections as international observers called for the results to be released promptly to avoid stoking tension.

Political parties have expressed concern over polling-day hitches on Tuesday, with one calling for a halt to the ballot count.

Footballing superstar George Weah and incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai are expected to top the first round of voting, according to analysts, though former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings is considered to have eaten into their support with an innovative campaign strategy.

If no candidate wins 50 percent of the presidential vote, a run-off between the top two contenders will be held on November 7 — an outcome deemed a near certainty.

The chairman of the Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine is also seen as a serious contender, on Thursday urged the “NEC to immediately halt further announcements of election results.”

In a statement sent to AFP, he claimed the irregularities were “deeply troubling”.

“If NEC does not cooperate with our request, we will take the appropriate legal action,” the party’s chairman, Ben Sanvee, said.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected will hold a press conference at 5pm (1700 GMT) with the first official results.

Turnout for Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in seven decades was exceptionally high, the NEC has suggested.

Given the delays, the European Union observer mission urged the NEC to be as open to possible about the details of the final results.

“In order for the final result to be credible the Liberian authorities will have to show the greatest transparency regarding the handling of the result for the polling stations until the validation,” the chief observer of the EU’s Election Observation Mission, Maria Arena, told journalists in Monrovia.

She also called on the authorities to ensure that “potential complaints are handled with the utmost impartiality” in a tense environment.

The Carter Center, an NGO founded by former US president Jimmy Carter, said “prompt release of results” would help in “building confidence among the electorate and preventing confusion and tension.”

Published in Business and Economy

Africa Reporters Television (ARTV)

Newsletter

- Advertisement -



Ads