Liberia presidential election heads for run-off vote

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Liberia’s electoral commission on Tuesday scheduled a presidential election run-off for November after results showed that the two frontrunners, President George Weah and opposition leader Joseph Boakai, had failed to secure enough votes.

Weah holds a slim lead at 43.83% of the vote, while Boakai has 43.44%, according to tallied results from 100% of polling places, the West African nation’s election commission said.

Commission chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah said the run-off vote would be held on Nov. 14. She said there was a record turnout of 78.86% of around 2.4 million registered voters.

The Oct. 10 election has been widely seen as a test of support for former soccer star Weah, 57, who was criticized in his first term by the opposition and Liberia’s international partners for not doing enough to tackle corruption.

On his campaign trail, he asked voters for more time to fulfill his promise to rebuild the nation’s broken economy, institutions and infrastructure, pledging to pave more roads if reelected.

Liberia is struggling to recover from two civil wars that killed more than 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003 and from a 2013-16 Ebola epidemic that killed thousands.

Boakai, 78, was Weah’s main challenger and campaigned on what he called the need to rescue Liberia from alleged mismanagement by Weah’s administration.

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