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Weah or Boakai? Voting underway in Liberian runoff

Voting has begun in polling centres across Liberia as the West African country chooses its next president in a delayed presidential runoff election.

The runoff is between former international football star, Sen. George Weah, and incumbent Vice President, Mr Joseph Boakai.

Weah won the first round of elections on Oct. 10 with 38 per cent of the total votes cast, followed by Boakai who came second with 29 per cent.

But both men fell short of the 50 per cent plus one absolute majority vote required for a winner to emerge in the first round, hence the runoff.

The winner will succeed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is stepping down in January after completing her constitutional 12-year tenure of two terms of six years each.

A voter casts his ballot in Monrovia

A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent in Monrovia, the capital, reports that polls opened at exactly 8:00 GMT at centres visited.

However, voter turnout was low as at the time of NAN’s visit to the centres compared to that of the Oct. 10 general elections.

Our correspondent observed the presence of security personnel and at least three queue controllers at each of the centres.

Oppong Wennah, a polling staff, told NAN that the process had been smooth and fast, but said the turnout was low.

A voter, Dillion Boakai, said he spent less than 20 minutes on queue to cast his vote unlike Oct. 10 when he managed to vote after six hours.

Others who spoke said they had no problem with the runoff holding on Boxing Day, noting that it was a necessary price for a peaceful transition of power.

This is first transition election since 1973 in a country that is recovering from over a decade of devastating civil war.

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