Some partisans of opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have begun jubilating across Liberia over preliminary elections results being announced by some broadcast houses here that appear to be favoring opposition CDC’s candidate Sen. George Manneh Weah.
The jubilation is happening ahead of official provisional results announcement by the National Elections Commission (NEC) which is the only institution authorized to declare a winner.
Mr. Weah is battling against ruling Unity Party (UP) candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai in the runoff poll, following a month of legal challenge against results of the first round elections contested by 20 candidates in October.
A network of [civil] society organizations called Liberia Election Observation Network (LEON) says voting was carried out much faster than its in the first round of the election when many problems were reported.
Citizens across the country went to the polls Tuesday, 26 December to choose the replacement of outgoing President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf whose two terms will be ending in January 2018.
Mrs. Sirleaf took office in 2006 following a democratic election conducted after the country witnessed a 14 – year civil conflict that devastated the economy.Mr. Weah lost the 2005 polls to President Sirleaf as CDC standard bearer, and his party also lost the 2011 polls against the incumbent when the ex-soccer legend moved a step below to stand as running mate to Liberia’s ex-UN envoy Cllr. Winston Tubman who boycotted a November runoff won by Mrs. Sirleaf.
Unofficial results appear to show Mr. Weah to be certain to lead in many places announced so far, following a prolonged court process that delayed the runoff between the CDC and UP.
Speaking to this paper in an exclusive interview, a CDC partisan Larry Wleh says the results coming from across the counties are not surprising, claiming that Mr. Weah won the election before voting could take place.
“It was clear we all knew George Weah will emerge as winner because the first election demonstrates that, and UP were still thinking they could make a comeback,” Mr. Wleh says.
If pronounced winner by the NEC, the CDC political leader will be the first footballer to become president on the African continent.He markedly improved on his showing after topping the first round of the 10 October polls, but did not secure the 50 percent plus one vote required by the Constitution to be declared winner in the first round.
The final result is expected to be announced by the NEC in four days after the 26 December vote.Mr. Weah is a former Liberian soccer legend who played for English football club Chelsea and Italian club AC Milan, winning the world best player award in 1995.
By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley