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Slow votes in Liberia’s run-off

Opposition candidate Winston Tubman's call for a boycott may have been heeded.
Liberia election un 2011 11 8Enlarge
A UN peacekeeper patrols as Liberian incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf casts her ballot in her hometown on Nov. 8, 2011. Early voting was slow in the tense capital following Monday's violence, in marked contrast to long lines that greeted the opening of the polls in last month's first round. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

Monrovia is feeling the calm after the storm.

Yesterday saw political riots that turned deadly, claiming the first lives of Liberia’s election season.

Today polling stations are quiet, the good-natured queues that marked the first round last month nowhere to be seen.

Opposition candidate Winston Tubman is boycotting the run-off against incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. So perhaps the slow pace of voting is proof of the popularity he claims, that his boycott call was heeded.

Equally, fear might be keeping voters away. Liberians know how violence can spiral out of control, and they know what war looks like and what damage it can do.

Tubman’s gamble on calling a boycott may well backfire, however, with most election observers saying the first round of the elections was free and fair. Unopposed for round two, Johnson-Sirleaf is set to claim victory, winning a second term as president.’s-run