Liberia’s election management body, the National Election Commission (NEC), on Tuesday, announced that the presidential election run-off will take place on 14 November.
This is following the inability of any of the 20 candidates to secure more than 50 per cent of votes cast in the first round of the election.
The incumbent president and flag bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), George Weah, and former vice president and flag bearer of the Unity Party (UP), Joseph Boakai, will meet at the run-off having received the highest votes in the first round.
Mr Weah received 43.83 per cent of votes cast (804,087 votes), while Mr Boakai received 43.44 per cent of votes cast (796,961).
The commission also announced the resumption of political campaigns for the run-off from 24 October to 12 November 2023 at 11:59 p.m.
The development is a repeat of history, with the last presidential election in the West African country held in 2017 ending in a run-off between Messrs Weah and Boakai.
But Mr Weah eventually won the race to emerge as president, after polling 61.5 per cent of the votes cast in the runoff. Mr Boakai trailed with 38.5 per cent of the votes.
While Mr Weah is seeking a second and final term as president in the 2023 election, Mr Boakai is seeking to achieve his desire to become president after several attempts.
Speaking at the press conference, NEC chairperson Davidetta Lansanah noted that the 10 October election is “unprecedented in Liberia’s modern democratic election history and it is due, in part, to the commission’s successful transition from the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) system of voter registration to the use of biometric technology for the registration of voters, which produced an excellent Final Registration Roll for the 10 October Elections.”
According to the commission’s record, 1.9 million voters constituting 79 per cent of the 2.4 million registered voters showed up to vote.Although, largely peaceful, the 10 October elections witnessed post-Election Day happenings including disruption of tally processes and electoral malpractices by some temporary staff recruited by the NEC.
Mrs Lansanah noted that temporary staff allegedly involved in electoral malpractices have been remanded pending court trial.“The names of these temporary workers are quarantined in the NEC database, as they will not serve in any future elections,” she added.
Also, in Nimba County, two polling places in precinct Beo Lontuo witnessed the disruption of the counting process with some individuals carting away ballot boxes, damaging their contents in the process. This led to the re-run of the three elections at the two affected polling places in that precinct.