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Vote counting underway in Liberia elections

Vote counting underway in Liberia elections

President Akufo-Addo has congratulated Liberia's president-elect, George Weah.

Official results from the National Elections Commission show that, of the 98.1% of ballots counted from the December 26 runoff election, the standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), George M. Weah, has safely reached within grasp of the Liberian presidency.

"I am deeply grateful to my family, my friends, and my loyal supporters who contributed to our campaign during this extremely long election season", Weah said on twitter before the results were announced.

Voters were choosing a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping down after serving 12 years as Africa's first elected female head of state, in the West African country's first democratic transition since 1944.

But, though Liberia enjoyed prolonged peace, post-civil war stability and weathering a devastating Ebola outbreak during Johnson Sirleaf tenure, the president is accused of failing to combat poverty and corruption.

Weah topped the first round of voting with 38.4 percent while Boakai came second with 28.8 percent. His failure to secure an outright majority forced a run-off.

Vote counting underway in Liberia elections

The former Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan star became a shoo-in for the top job after gathering the most votes in the first round of voting.

He entered politics after his retirement and is now a senator in Liberia's parliament.

Turnout was "nowhere near that of the first round held in October", our correspondent said, attributing the low numbers to a seven-week delay in holding the runoff.

Weah has also fended off barbs over his vice-presidential pick, Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of jailed former president and warlord Charles Taylor.

He and Boakai voted in polling stations near their homes in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, the capital of this nation of 4.6 million people.

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