Former soccer star George Weah’s camp said on Wednesday he was set to win Liberia’s presidential election run-off against Vice President Joseph Boakai in the country’s first democratic transfer of power in more than seven decades.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) declared it was the only authority that was allowed to announce results and urged the media and political parties to refrain from declaring victory ahead of their first official news conference expected sometime on Wednesday.
However, votes counted at the polling stations have been broadcast on the country’s radio stations from all 15 counties and supporters of Weah, the main candidate for Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) said they were confident of a victory.
“This is the president that we want. We do not need any other person. We do not want any other person,” said Weah supporter, James Munyan.
Weah’s party said its own tallies based on results from individual polling stations, indicated he was in the lead with about 70% of the vote.
Unofficial partial results announced on local radio stations suggested the same.
Officials from Boakai’s ruling Unity Party were not immediately available for comment but his supporters at party headquarters were circumspect about Boakai’s prospects.
Weah and Boakai are vying to succeed outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose 12-year rule cemented peace in the West African country after civil war ended in 2003.
Many Liberians have criticised Johnson Sirleaf for not doing enough to root out endemic poverty and corruption and are eager for fresh leadership.
Weah, who was named world footballer of the year in 1995, was runner-up to Johnson Sirleaf in the 2005 election and has positioned himself an outsider who will deliver tangible benefits to the country’s young population.
Final results are expected on the 28th or 29th of December.
Liberia, Africa’s oldest modern republic, was founded by freed United States slaves in 1847, but its last democratic transfer of power occurred in 1944.
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