MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia will have a runoff between incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her strongest challenger, Winston Tubman.
Liberia’s National Election Commission placed Nobel Peace laureate Johnson Sirleaf in first place with 44.5 percent of the votes. Her challenger and leader of the Congress for Democratic Change party, Winston Tubman, took the next biggest slice of the votes, with around 25 percent.
To avoid a runoff, however, Sirleaf needs to reach 51 percent. If a runoff is needed it will be held November 8.
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The voting in the presidential election went off peacefully. Long lines of Liberians waited outside polling stations, often in pouring rain, to vote and the patience shown on election day has kept hold as people calmly await news of their next government leader.
An observer from the African Union said, “there is no reason to worry” about candidates not accepting the result, according to the BBC.
Elections elsewhere in Africa have been discredited in the past because of accusations of violence and vote fixing. Most recently the International Criminal Court at The Hague announced it will investigate post-election violence in the Ivory Coast.
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The lead up to the Liberian election, only the second in the country since the end of the brutal civil war in 2005, was closely fought among the 16 candidates vying for the top spot.
The announcement of Johnson Sirleaf as one of the Nobel Peace Prize winners angered many of her opponents, according to GlobalPost.
Tubman, 70, criticized the award as a “provocative intervention” because of the announcement’s timing just days before the vote. Tubman also criticized Johnson Sirfleaf, 72, as a “warmonger” for her role in backing former President Charles Taylor during the beginning of the rebellion in 1989.
Johnson Sirleaf has acknowledged and apologized for giving political and financial aid to Taylor. The former warlord is currently on trial at The Hague for alleged war crimes.
Material for this blog includes information provided by Emily Schmall and the team of Liberian journalists working with New Narratives.