In Summary
  • Magdalene Brown, 21, was a first-time voter who could not cast her ballot due to problems with the register.

  • If no candidate wins 50 per cent of the presidential vote, then the run-off of the top two contenders will be held on November 7.

  • In both those previous elections Weah’s CDC party and Sirleaf’s Unity Party went into the run-off round of voting.

MONROVIA, Wednesday

Counting was under way in Liberia on Wednesday amid reports of problems during a peaceful vote to determine President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s successor after 12 years.

The first official results from the presidential and legislative elections were expected later Wednesday from the National Elections Commission (NEC), which has already suggested that turnout was high for Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in seven decades.

Some voters who appeared at the wrong polling station or were registered more than once were unable to cast their ballot on Tuesday, the NEC said without putting a figure on those affected.

The revelations triggered concern from political parties, although the scale of the problem is only just becoming clear.

“For three hours we were in line. When we asked why they are not letting us in, they said they were cooking to eat. We were there until the rain started to fall,” Rachel Johnson told AFP, saying she was unable to vote at a high school in Barnesville, a Monrovia suburb.

VOTE

Magdalene Brown, 21, was a first-time voter who could not cast her ballot due to problems with the register.

“My photo was there but my name was not corresponding. They told me to wait, which I did until 7 pm, but under the heavy downpour of rain I was not allowed to vote,” she said.

The nation’s 2.18 million registered voters made their choice from a crowded field of 20 presidential candidates — including just one woman — and elected 73 parliamentarians for the lower chamber, the House of Representatives.

Liberia's presidential and legislatives elections.

People wait in line prior to casting their vote for Liberia's presidential and legislatives elections, at a polling station in Monrovia on October 10, 2017. PHOTO | ISSOUF SANOGO | AFP

Frontrunners for the presidency include footballing icon George Weah, incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai, longtime opposition figure Charles Brumskine and upstart former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings.

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