Henry Flomo, National Elections Commission (NEC) communications director, has confirmed to the Voice of America (VOA) that former international soccer superstar George Weah will face Vice President Joseph Boakai in the second round, which the commission has scheduled for November 7.
Flomo said neither of the two men got more than 50 percent of the votes, which is required by the Liberian Constitution to outright win the presidency. Weah has garnered about 39.0 percent, while Boakai has obtained 29.1 percent of the votes counted so far.
The second round winner will succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president, who is stepping down after two terms.
Ahead of the runoff, there are already mixed views among Liberians who are calling various radio phone-in programs, with some pledging support for the vice president, hoping he can continue Sirleaf’s development achievements. Others said they will support Weah in hopes that he would usher in the change that he has promised.
This will be the third time since multi-party elections were restored that Liberians will be revisiting the polls to decide on who becomes the country’s next president in a run-off presidential election between the two candidates who obtained the most number of votes from the first round of the October 10 polls.
The two candidates with most of the votes so far were unable to secure the required 50 percent plus 1 for an outright victory. So far the top opposition contender, George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), has secured 572,453 votes, which amounts to 39.0 percent of the 1,550,923 votes already tallied across the country. Vice President Joseph N. Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP) trails by 427,550 votes, which represents 29.1 percent of the national tally.
And with the the NEC having tallied 95.6 percent of all votes cast on Tuesday, October 10, it is quite unavoidable that a run-off election will ensue, but Mr. Flomo said this will be done on November 7, instead of the 8th, which was in the case of the two previous postwar elections.
Weah is contesting as a presidential candidate for the third consecutive time since he first ran in 2005.
Article 83 (b) states that all elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no candidate was able to obtain an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the first Tuesday in November.