Liberia’s presidential run-off vote off to a slow, smooth start26 Dec, 2017
Monrovia, Liberia 26th December 2017 . Liberia’s rescheduled presidential run-off election got off to a slow but generally peaceful start Tuesday with the Head of ECOWAS Observation Mission, Ghana’s immediate past President, John Dramani Mahama, urging Liberians to reciprocate the goodwill of the international community by delivering a peaceful and credible vote.
“There is usually a dip in voter enthusiasm during the second round of voting, but so far so good, all seems to be going on smoothly,” said the Head of Mission, who had visited more than five polling places (stations) in Central and Lower Montserrado County (Monrovia) by 10.30 am local time.
He noted that the shorter queues this time, as compared to the 10th October first round election, could be the consequence of the new measures introduced by the National Elections Commission (NEC), including the public display of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) to guide voters to their Polling Places.
“Election officials appear better trained and more professional this time and this has removed the confusion experienced the last time,” said the Head of Mission, who had visited polling stations at the New Port High School, Dualla; D. Tweh High School and St Mary’s School, New Georgia in New Kru Town.
By 10.30 am, some 150 of the 444 registered voters, including a visually-challenged voter had cast their ballots at the James Kin Freeman Memorial School in the Suakermo Community, Congo Town.
Voting started on time at most of the polling Places, with polling officials and political party agents and security personnel on ground.
Mahama, who also led the ECOWAS Observation Mission to Liberia’s first round of balloting last October, is this time heading 39 observers deployed by the regional organisation.
He was accompanied on Tuesday’s observation tour by an ECOWAS Support Team led by the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs Halima Ahmed and the ECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo.
Some political parties had approached the Supreme Court with complaints over the 10th October vote, raising issues with the Voters’ Roll. The apex court made key recommendations for improvement that were effected by NEC with the support of the ECOWAS Technical Team, which assisted with the clean-up of the Roll.
Former professional footballer George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the out-going Vice President Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP), who emerged frontrunners in the first round ballot are squaring it up in the 26 December run-off vote.
Liberia has an estimated population of 4.5 million with 2.18 million registered voters, 2,080 Polling Precincts (Centres) and 5,390 Polling Places (Stations) nationwide.