Liberians home and abroad as well as the world at large are awaiting the news of the announcement of Liberia’s next president following the conduct of the prolonged presidential runoff.
Electorate across Liberia voted Tuesday for their next president to succeed outgoing President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf who is completing her two consecutive six – years terms this January.
The runoff presidential election between ruling Unity Party (UP’s) candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) Sen. George Manneh Weah on Tuesday, 26 December comes after a month of legal challenge against the October polls contested by 20 candidates without a decisive winner.
The runoff which was originally due on 7 November, was significantly delayed by a legal challenge against the outcome of the October polls which both the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Supreme Court heard before a go ahead was given by the Court for a runoff.
Election workers at various polling places visited on Bushrod Island, suburb of Monrovia, say the process was smooth, but voters came in smaller numbers than they did in October. At least no violence was reported at places visited so far.
According to NEC poll watchers at the Royal Foundation Day – Care in Clara Town, turnout was encouraging in the early hours of the voting process in the morning, but it dropped drastically by noon with voters coming in slowly.
A Poll Officer at this center Mr. David Togba says the voting process was smooth, but there was low turnout. A NEC poll watcher at the James Doe Younge High School in Clara Town Mr. Benjamin Scott says by the afternoon hours, there were more women voting at the center than the number of men that were turning out.
Party agents representing both UP and CDC were observed at various centers visited, and those who spoke to this paper say the voting process was peaceful, except that voters were not coming in huge numbers as they did in the first round of the polls.
The December poll will determine Liberia’s next president to whom incumbent President Sirleaf is due to hand over power in January in a smooth transition process for the first time in 73 years.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah